According to a study elaborated by researchers from the University of California and the University of Leeds, the changes which affect the magnetic field can be up to ten times faster than it was thought previously.
The study offers a surprising amount of new information related to the magnetic field, which is created by the flow of iron at a depth of more than 2800 kilometers beyond the surface. As the molten metal found in the out core moves, electricity currents are created, generating a field that plays an essential for navigational systems and shields us from harmful cosmic radiation.
On the move
Previous research has established that the magnetic field moves constantly. Satellites have offered the ability to measure and track current shifts as they happen, but it is hard to create a map of the moves made by the field before contemporary technology was available.
Some researchers tried to analyze magnetic fields recorded in the form of sediments and other potential clues, but the accuracy of such ventures is debatable.
The team of researchers responsible for the new study decided to take a different approach by combining sophisticated computer simulations that could anticipate the evolution of the magnetic field with a new reconstruction of time variations tied to the magnetic field of our planet.
According to the new study, changes in the direction followed by Earth’s magnetic field have reached rates that are up to 10 times larger in comparison to the fastest variations that have been reported by now. These speedy changes can be linked to the local weakening of the magnetic fields, which means that they took place when the polarity was reversed.
It is also worth noting that fast directional changes can be associated with reverse flux patches that can move across the core. The study has been published in a scientific journal.