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From August 28 until September 2, 1859, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun, the largest flare occurring on the 1st. A massive CME headed directly at Earth due to the solar flare and made it within eighteen hours—-a trip that normally takes three to four days. On September 1 and 2nd, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred. Telegraph wires in both the United States and Europe shorted out, some even causing fires. Auroras were seen as far south as Hawaii, Mexico, Cuba, and Italy—phenomena that are usually only seen near the poles. This was the 1859 solar superstorm.
On 13 March 1989 a severe geomagnetic storm caused the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid in a matter of seconds as equipment protection relays tripped in a cascading sequence of events. Six million people were left without power for nine hours, with significant economic loss. The storm even caused auroras as far south as Texas . The geomagnetic storm causing this event was itself the result of a Coronal Mass Ejection, ejected from the Sun on March 9, 1989.
In August 1989, another storm affected microchips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto's stock market .
Since 1989, power companies in North America, the UK, Northern Europe and elsewhere evaluated the risks of geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) and developed mitigation strategies.
Since 1995, geomagnetic storms and solar flares have been monitored from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) joint-NASA-European Space Agency satellite.
On Feb. 26, 2008 the magnetic fields erupted inside the magnetotail, releasing about 1015 Joules of energy. The blast launched two gigantic clouds of protons and electrons, one toward Earth and one away from Earth. The Earth-directed cloud crashed into the planet below, sparking vivid auroras in Canada and Alaska .
Scientists have found evidence that the Earth might have flipped over in the past, completely shifting the orientation of its poles. The theory has been around for years; that a large mountain range or supervolcano might unbalance the spinning Earth. Over the course of millions of years, the Earth would change the orientation of its axis until the object was balanced at the equator again. The scientists found evidence of magnetic grains in layers of rock sediment on the ocean floor that maintain a record of the Earth's magnetic field over millions of years.
Imagine a shift in the Earth so profound that it could force our entire planet to spin on its side after a few million years, tilting it so far that Alaska would sit at the equator. Princeton scientists have now provided the first compelling evidence that this kind of major shift may have happened in our world's distant past.
"The sediments we have recovered from Norway offer the first good evidence that a true polar wander event happened about 800 million years ago," said Maloof, an assistant professor of geosciences. "If we can find good corroborating evidence from other parts of the world as well, we will have a very good idea that our planet is capable of this sort of dramatic change."
"Scientists have found no evidence for an ice age occurring 800 million years ago, and the change in the ocean at this juncture remains one of the great mysteries in the ancient history of our planet," he said. "But if all the continents were suddenly flipped around and their rivers began carrying water and nutrients into the tropics instead of the Arctic, for example, it could produce the mysterious geochemical changes science has been trying to explain."
The Earth could be about to turn upside down. The planet's magnetic field is showing signs of wanting to make a gigantic somersault, so that magnetic north heads towards Antarctica, and magnetic south goes north. Compasses will point the wrong way, and migrating birds, fish and turtles are going to be very confused.
Just when this will happen, how long it will take and what the consequences will be, is difficult to fathom. What is not in doubt, though, is that it will happen. About every half a million years or so, the Earth's magnetic field flips upside down.
Without our magnetic shield, those solar particles might create havoc with the weather. That cosmic radiation blasting the Earth's surface could cause genetic mutations and cancers. Yet when palaeontologists scoured the fossil records looking for signs of mass extinctions or bursts of evolution during previous magnetic field flips, they found nothing. Living organisms seem to have survived intact. But what will happen next time?
Originally posted by questioningall
reply to post by Chadwickus
LOL I KNOW that we have had those events before!!
That is not what I was saying................. what I was saying....... show where it caused our magnetic field to fold up within itself........like it did today.
Originally posted by CallMeMaury
reply to post by guinnessford
Dude, I was referencing that terrible movie "The Core" which had to do with earth's magnetic field and natural disasters.
My main point is that if the magnetic field is going screwy we are all toast, and since there is no way to fix it if it does get messed up, we might as well stop worrying about it.