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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Is Magnetic Pole Shift a Cause for Alarm?


A recent Wall Street Journal article cited the movement of the earth’s magnetic field as a cause for potential alarm ~ but still posed the question, “Should we be alarmed?”
The earth's magnetic field is weakening at an accelerating rate. It is 15% weaker than it was at the time the north magnetic pole was "discovered"—and claimed for King William IV—by a British explorer in 1831. Should we be worried?
What's more, the north magnetic pole, after meandering through Canadian islands for half a millennium, is heading off across the Arctic Ocean toward Russia at the breakneck speed of 37 miles a year. It will pass close to the geographical North Pole in a few years. With the dastardly Russians about to pinch this British heirloom, should we be doubly worried?
While the WSJ admits we don’t know the answer, it contends there is no concrete evidence pointing to reasons for undue concern:
Though odds are strongly against it, it is just possible that this is the beginning of a polar reversal, when the North and South magnetic poles swap places. This used to happen quite often—by which I mean every hundred thousand years or so—but it's now 780,000 years since it last occurred, an unusually long interval.
During such a reversal there is probably a very brief interval (oops, there I go again; by "very brief" I mean a thousand years or so) when the earth has no stable magnetic field. This does not seem to have bothered our ancestors: There is no evidence of biological extinctions peaking during magnetic-pole reversals.
Click here for the complete article.

2 comments:

angelcel said...

I'm just stopping by to say a big thank you. You are in my Google Reader and I'm always pleased when I see you've posted because for a long time now I've been silently enjoying the articles that you find.

Today's is a particularly happy find for me as the whole article emphasises something I often think about, i.e. the *context* of the scary stories that are popularly bandied about, always with the emphasis on 'We Are All Doomed!' It's refreshing and encouraging, for a change, to see someone putting things in perspective.

Now that I've actually wandered on over to your site (and it has been way too long in coming) I also love all the quotes you've collected together. All true. All inspiring.

So thank you again. Please keep on doing what you're doing, even if people like me may sometimes make you feel as though you are whistling in the wind. :)

Gregory LeFever said...

Thank you, angelcel. Such a wonderful comment. I see with your blog that you get quite a few immediate comments and thus some instant gratification. It's true that a blog such as Quantum Spirit draws readers less likely to respond and I sometimes do get the feeling of whistling in the wind.

Then someone like you comes along and takes a moment to share a gratifying sentiment, and all is well. Thanks again!