US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at Lida and California Universities in San Diego have discovered that changes in the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field can occur 10 times faster than previously thought. This was reported in an article published in the journal Nature Communications.
The researchers analyzed data on changes in the Earth’s magnetic field over the past 100 thousand years and combined them with the field generation model. It turned out that rapid changes are associated with a local weakening of the magnetic field. This indicates that the shifts occurred either when the field changed polarity, or when the axis of the dipole shifted far from the geographic poles. For example, 39 thousand years ago, the geomagnetic field shifted 2.5 degrees, which was accompanied by a weakening field strength off the west coast of Central America.
It was believed that the maximum rate of displacement of the magnetic field is one degree per year, however, according to new data, the speed can reach a record ten degrees per year, which is one hundred times faster than the current changes.
The magnetic field arises due to convection flows of molten metal in the outer core of the Earth. As the simulation results showed, the fastest changes are associated with the appearance of areas in which metal flows are directed in the opposite direction. These spots often form at low latitudes, and this allows scientists to narrow the search for evidence of field changes.
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