Scientists demonstrated that the Earth’s magnetic field could reverse polarity in less time than originally thought. Previously, scientists believed that the change took several thousands of years, but if the research is correct, the reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field could take closer to 100 years.
The scientists took measurements of the magnetic field alignment of sedimentary layers in a prehistoric lake in Italy. These layers show the alignment change of magnetic fields through the materials that were captured in sediment at a consistent rate over a 10,000-year period. The last magnetic field change is estimated to have occurred 786,000 years ago and is known as the Matuyama-Brunhes transition.
This research supports evidence that the Earth’s magnetic field intensity is decreasing at a rate of ten times faster than predicted, and a polarity reversal could happen in the few thousand years. The effects of a polarity change are unknown but could theoretically cause chaos with electrical grids or changes of electrical fields.