Space

What happens if the Earth’s magnetic field disappears?

Earth, as if by invisible threads, is surroundedmagnetic field of the planet. This field, generated by an internal source, is important for the existence of life on Earth. Being a protective screen against solar particles, it may even have helped with the evolution of life on our planet. If the magnetic field disappears, a large number of particles charged by the Sun will attack the planet, gradually disabling electrical networks and satellites. However, can this lead to a real apocalypse for those living on Earth?

Earth's magnetic field helps us to live comfortably and safely on our blue planet

Earth's magnetic field weakens

Earth's magnetic field isreal protection on a planetary scale, which reliably protects us from harmful solar radiation. Despite this, recent research by scientists has documented its significant weakening, due to unknown reasons. The researchers also discovered a possible source of this problem, which became the so-called South Atlantic Anomaly. In this area of ​​the planet, solar particles descend closer to Earth than usual, which is not in any way aligned with the standard laws of physics.

It is important to understand that even if the magnetic fieldgradually weakening, it will not disappear forever due to the influence of the molten outer core of the Earth, which consists mainly of nickel and iron. Scientists believe that the outer core moves due to convection of heat, which is released as the center of the planet grows and hardens. Such an engine with a magnetic field is known to us as a dynamo mechanism and has been operating for billions of years. Scientists suggest that the current structure of the nucleus was established about 1.5 billion years ago, but geophysicist John Tarduno and his team found evidence of the existence of a magnetic field on Earth in the oldest minerals on the planet, the so-called zircons that appeared 4.2 billion years ago. This finding suggests that activity in the core of the planet created magnetism for a very long time.

Magnetic field protects people from harmful solar radiation for 4.2 billion years

Scientists suggest that the change in mantle underSouth Africa could cause an inversion of the magnetic field. According to the results of the study, by 2019 the pole has shifted by more than 2,300 km, compared with the measurements of 1831. In addition to the displacement of the magnetic pole, the speed of movement also increases: from 15 km to 55 km per year. Such fast movement forces us to more often adjust navigation systems, for example, compasses in smartphones or navigation systems for airplanes and ships. But even if the magnetic field is preparing for a global revolution, it will not completely disappear, but will only weaken significantly.

See also: The magnetic field of the Sun can be 10 times stronger than previously thought

Despite the weakening of the magnetic fieldIt will entail a powerful bombardment of the Earth’s atmosphere by solar charged particles, we simply won’t have time to feel their harmful effects. So, first of all, we will often be led by compasses, which will cease to fulfill their function and will point to the region of the highest magnetic field, which may be very close to us. Northern and southern lights would be visible from lower latitudes, because their occurrence occurs as a result of the interaction of charged solar particles and the Earth's magnetosphere.

A weaker field will allow charged solar particles to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere, illuminating the sky closer to the equator

The influence of the South Atlantic anomaly on satellitescan spread throughout the Earth, leading to technical failures on a planetary scale. At the moment of interaction of the ionosphere and solar particles, the latter also release electrons from their molecular orbits. Newly formed electrons have a negative effect on the transmission of high-frequency radio waves, which are currently used for communication.

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However, the researchers do not know exactlyexactly how much time may be required for the complete destruction of the magnetic field of the planet. A similar process once occurred on Mars, which approximately 4 billion years ago collided with a massive cosmic body and lost the ability to generate its own magnetic field and, as a consequence, most of the atmosphere. An example of Mars can show us the processes that a planet experiences on itself with the gradual destruction of a magnetic field on it. So, the long-term effects of solar radiation and the Earth’s atmosphere can gradually destroy our main protection - the ozone layer. A significant violation within this layer can significantly increase the level of exposure to ultraviolet radiation on humans, which will entail an increased risk of skin cancer.