According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), we could now be headed into a magnetic reversal, thus validating the premise of both Not by Fire but by Ice and Magnetic reversals and Evolutionary Leaps.
17 Jan 11 – The South Atlantic Anomaly is growing and spreading westwards from South Africa as the Earth’s internal magnetic field rapidly weakens in this region, says this article on the BGS website. “This may be early evidence of a forthcoming reversal in the direction of the Earth’s internal magnetic field.”
“We do not know in detail precisely what occurs during such reversals, including the changes observed in the magnetic field and the time a reversal takes to complete,” the BGS adds.
Since so little is known, and in order to determine where radiation risks may be increased and how the atmosphere might respond, the BGS is opening a South Atlantic Anomaly and South Georgia Magnetic Observatory.
By establishing the new observatory, BGS will re-start continuous magnetic observations in South Georgia, last carried out in 1982.
What is the South Atlantic Anomaly?
“The Earth’s magnetic field, generated deep within the planet, is a shield against particle radiation from space,” the BGS article continues. “In the South Atlantic this shield is much weaker than elsewhere across the globe and radiation from space therefore penetrates deeper into the atmosphere. This region is known as the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) and the radiation in the SAA is a known hazard to satellites, spacecraft and high-altitude aircraft.”
Let me repeat that because it’s so important. “The Earth’s magnetic field is a shield against particle radiation from space.” Our magnetic field, in other words, shields us from the radioactive particles generated by cosmic rays.
The problem, which the BGS doesn’t go into here, is that magnetic field strength declines dramatically during a magnetic reversal. This reduces our shielding and allows more and more radioactivity onto our planet.
That’s when the mutations begin. And that’s what “Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps” is all about.
“The radiation input into the atmosphere depends on the Sun’s magnetic and radiation activity and the geometry (or ‘shape’) of the Earth’s magnetic field. So, understanding the space environment, particularly during magnetic storms, is important. Equally important is understanding any changes over time in the magnetic field observed across the surface of the Earth – see also Long-term monitoring of the Earth’s magnetic field.”
The BGS goes on to say that Earth’s magnetic field has had many highs, lows and reversals in its past, with the last reversal taking place around 800,000 years ago. I take issue with this date because there have been many magnetic reversals since that time.
There’s the Gothenburg magnetic reversal of 11,500 years ago, when the mammoths went extinct.
There’s the Mono Lake magnetic reversal of 23,000 years ago, when the earth descended into catastrophic glaciation.
There’s the Lake Mungo magnetic reversal of 33,500 years ago, when the Neanderthals went extinct.
And there are several others, such as the Laschamp, the Blake, Biwa I, Biwa II, Biwa III … the list goes on. (See Magnetic Reversal Chart.)
There’s even the Big Lost magnetic reversal of 640,000 years ago, when – just by coincidence? – the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted.
In fact, my research shows that our planet undergoes a magnetic reversal about every 11,500 years and, agreeing with the BGS on this point, I think the next reversal is now due.
The problem is that a magnetic reversal could be disastrous.
As I warn in “Not by Fire but by Ice”: “Polarity reversals, equinoctial precession, and ice ages, all march to the same drummer. As do extinctions, new species appearance, volcanism, and rising land. Toss in the specter of massive floods, 30-story tsunami (tsunami is both singular and plural), and radioactivity falling on your head, and you’ve got the picture.”
“The Earth is known to be able to re-generate its field and has done so during human pre-history,” the BGS article continues. “Understanding the development of the SAA may therefore be significant in understanding the reversal process and its impact on life and the natural environment.”
Thanks to Stephanie Relfe for this link
Where is South Georgia?
South Georgia is a British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean, says Wikipedia. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, the South Sandwich Islands. The South Sandwich Islands lie about 520 km (320 mi) to the south-east of South Georgia.
South Georgia is “stunningly beautiful and rugged,” says the official South Georgia website. “This island wildlife sanctuary, once visited, is not easily forgotten. Its snow covered peaks, blue glacier ice and emerald green bays are breathtaking sights.” http://www.sgisland.gs/index.php/Main_Page