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Earth's Core in a Bottle - May Provide Insight Into Potential Catastrophe

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posted on Apr, 14 2005 @ 03:20 PM
A Silent Protector

The Earth's magnetic field is still little understood, but its benefits are not. The importance of the field to the Earth's stability was highlighted for the general public in recent Hollywood films such as The Day After Tomorrow and The Core. The Sun, source of light, energy and life on Earth, would be the object of our doom if it weren't for the magnetic field which protects us from the deadly radiation spewed out by that giant nuclear furnace.

Deflection of solar radiation creates the Aurora Polaris effect, or "Northern Lights", as solar particles travelling along magnetic lines collide with gases in the Earths atmosphere and release the collision energy as light.

The Culture of Fear

In recent years, reports of doom and gloom have emerged regarding an apparent decline in the Earth's magnetic field strength, and some projections show that it may disappear entirely over the next 1000 years, spelling disaster for life on Earth.

Sun's Rays to Roast Earth as Poles Flip
Scientists have discovered that its strength has dropped precipitously over the past two centuries and could disappear over the next 1,000 years.

'Earth's magnetic field has disappeared many times before - as a prelude to our magnetic poles flipping over, when north becomes south and vice versa,' said Dr Alan Thomson of the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh.

'Reversals happen every 250,000 years or so, and as there has not been one for almost a million years, we are due one soon.'

As to humans, our greatest risk would come from intense solar radiation bursts. Normally these are contained by the planet's magnetic field in space. However, if it disappears, particle storms will start to batter the atmosphere.

'These solar particles can have profound effects,' said Dr Paul Murdin, of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. 'On Mars, when its magnetic field failed permanently billions of years ago, it led to its atmosphere being boiled off. On Earth, it will heat up the upper atmosphere and send ripples round the world with enormous, unpredictable effects on the climate.'

Eye In The Sky

The European Space Agency has announced a planned year 2009 triple satellite launch to study the Earth's geomagnetic field.

ESA to probe Earth's magnetic field
Dubbed Swarm, the mission comprises three satellites which will blast off in a single launcher in 2009. The Swarm constellation will be arranged with two of the satellites flying in a side-by-side pair at an initial altitude of 450km and a single, higher, satellite at 530km.

The satellites' data will provide a unique view 'inside' the Earth. They will take precise and high-resolution measurements of the strength, direction and variation of the magnetic field, which, along with navigation, accelerometer and electric field measurements, will be used to untangle and model the various sources of the geomagnetic field.

The exact nature of the field is still something of a mystery, however. For instance, we know that the polarity of the field flips every million years or so. Some researchers think we may be seeing the beginning of a flip right now, but the debate is far from settled.

Instructions: Glue Tab 'A' to Slot 'B'...

The University of Maryland has come up with a terrestrial method to study the geomagnetic field and its effects, by building a 10-foot wide "Earth model", complete with molten outer core and solid inner core. The "device" slightly resembles the transportation pods in the film The Fly.

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Earth’s Core in a Bottle
To understand the process that generates our planet’s protective magnetic field, Lathrop built the world’s most detailed physical model of where the action happens: Earth’s core. A 10-foot-wide steel sphere filled with 14 tons of liquid sodium stands in for the molten-iron outer core while a 3-foot-wide copper ball substitutes for the solid inner core. The whole contraption will spin four times a second to simulate Earth’s rotation.

According to theory, the churning of the molten iron outer core creates electricity, which, in turn, creates the geomagnetic field.

Using an earlier, smaller version of his device, Lathrop simulated the conditions around a black hole, learning that magnetic fluctuations help drag gas out of a safe orbit to a one-way trip into the hole.

What, me worry?

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So, chalk another one up for armaggeddon scenario possibilities. A thousand years seems like a long time, but it was only a thousand years ago that The Crusades were raging. While we worry about nuclear holocaust or meteor strike, the Earth might just decide to "flip out". Should we be worried?

posted on Apr, 14 2005 @ 04:42 PM
well yes according to this not only would there be catastrophe all the eath has to do is flip polarity and we would still have a problem .maps,compases,and aicraft equipement or any thing that relys on north and south would have to be replaced or modified.

posted on Apr, 14 2005 @ 05:43 PM
I've recently read on this, and it's not that the poles switch immediately. There is a long term of rearranging and movements that takes over a period of.... 1000 years I beleive? Anyways, I won't be alive to witness any of this take place... so, I guess I could just wonder.

posted on Apr, 14 2005 @ 05:54 PM
It seems interesting, however, little can be done about it with our current technology except to take cover underground in bunkers. Probably we will have superior technology by then, though.

posted on Apr, 14 2005 @ 06:45 PM

the scary part of this, is our lack of understanding of these things work, but maybe it is not for man to know all that there is in the universe and fear, wonder (worry) is the most intricate part of understanding it all.

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