A new paper has appeared in the prestigious journal Science, entitled, A global environmental crisis 42,000 years ago, by Prof Chris Turney of the University of New South Wales and others. The authors explain, in the paper, that evidence from ancient kauri trees in New Zealand, and other evidence, indicates that Earth’s magnetic poles flipped 42,000 years ago and this caused devastating problems for our ancient forebears. The pole-flip has been known for a while – it’s called the Laschamps excursion – but this new paper explains in detail the extent of the damage of that pole flip, and other related events. By adding in evidence from ice-cores, the scientists were able to work out more of what happened in that magnetic pole-flip event, and what it did to early humans.
The Guardian newspaper article End of Neanderthals linked to flip of Earth’s magnetic poles, study suggests, interviews Professor Turney and reports on the paper’s findings. To quote from the article:
“We see this massive growth of the ice sheet over North America … we see tropical rain belts in the west Pacific shifting dramatically at that point, and then also wind belts in the southern ocean and a drying out in Australia,” said Turney. The researchers also used a model to examine how the chemistry of the atmosphere might change if the Earth’s magnetic field was lost and there was a prolonged period of low solar activity, which would have further reduced Earth’s protection against cosmic radiation. Ice core records suggest such dips in solar activity, known as the “grand solar minima”, coincided with the Laschamps excursion. The results reveal that the atmospheric changes could have resulted in huge shifts in the climate, electrical storms and widespread colourful aurora.
The scientists believe that this pole-flip, and the intensity of solar radiation falling on an unprotected Earth, had a devastating effect on the large animals on the surface of Earth. Early man may have hidden in caves to get away from the increased solar radiation, thus explaining a rise in cave art at that time. The decline and possibly extinction of the Neanderthals at this time could have been down to this period of intense solar radiation. The Neanderthals were either directly harmed by the radiation or they lost the battles with other hominids to get into safe shelters.
I wanted to blog about this report for several reasons. Firstly, it’s an exciting new set of evidence. Secondly, and I’ll be honest, more importantly, because I’m such a huge fan of Douglas Adams. The event is being called the Adams Event, after Douglas Adams, who wrote the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. They’re doing this because in his book, Adams writes that the Answers to Life, The Universe and Everything is 42, hence the connection to the 42,000 year-old event. They’ve even helped create a video on the subject, narrated by Stephen Fry, in the style of the Hitch-Hiker’s television series graphic segments. Nice! Here it is:
There are some interesting and possibly daunting implications to this latest evidence on our last magnetic pole-flip. Our planet performs these magnetic flips on a regular basis – we know that from geology – and there are signs that a new flip may be looming. Nature published an article at the beginning of last year, 2020, entitled Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why. The article explains that the position of our North magnetic pole is moving, and it seems to be accelerating, as this diagram shows:
When our planet flips its magnetic poles, it seems to do it by wobbling its poles, like a spinning top that’s slowed down, then the poles rapidly slide around the globe and flip to the other end. The above graph seems to show that this increasing wobble might be happening. Does this mean that our planet is about to have another magnetic-pole reversal, like the Laschamps Event? There is a useful web page on this matter on the British Geological Survey website, entitled Reversals: Magnetic Flip. To quote from the page:
“Measurements have been made of the Earth’s magnetic field more or less continuously since about 1840. Some measurements even go back to the 1500s, for example at Greenwich in London. If we look at the trend in the strength of the magnetic field over this time (for example the so-called ‘dipole moment’ shown in the graph below) we can see a downward trend. Indeed projecting this forward in time would suggest zero dipole moment in about 1500-1600 years time. This is one reason why some people believe the field may be in the early stages of a reversal. We also know from studies of the magnetisation of minerals in ancient clay pots that the Earth’s magnetic field was approximately twice as strong in Roman times as it is now.”
In other words, the page author explains that Earth’s magnetic field strength is decreasing but it looks as if it’ll take a millennia for it to fall to zero. That’s good news. Personally, I’ve already talked about imminent climate change apocalypse and imminent galactic energy wave apocalypse, so I’m happy to say that I can’t see signs of an imminent magnetic-pole reversal apocalypse.
Then again, there is another element to the Laschamps Event that might mean the 1500 year estimate for the next flip is over-optimistic. As the Guardian article on the Laschamps Event points out:
Ice core records suggest such dips in solar activity, known as the “grand solar minima”, coincided with the Laschamps excursion.
By strange coincidence, we’re facing a Grand Solar Minimum very soon. To quote various web sites, “Scientists say the Sun may be going through a long period of decreased activity known as the Modern Grand Solar Minimum from 2020 to 2053.” If Grand Solar Minima and magnetic-pole flips are linked, then that would mean that our next magnetic pole flip won’t be in a thousand years time, but in twenty years time.
To be honest, according to my research, there seems to be multiple possible ways that the surface of our planet will become a terrible place to be by 2050. Climate change is unstoppable now, I think; these other planetary horrors are just icing on the cake, so to speak. I really do recommend that everyone should start building large-scale, self-contained, self-sustaining, protected habitats a.s.a.p.
Portents of doom aside, there is an interesting angle to this latest research research about the magnetic-field flip, 42,000 years ago. Our planet’s magnetic behaviour seems to be intimately connected with the electrical state of our sun. Why is that? I have wondered for a while if our solar system, and our entire galaxy, operates far more as an electrical system than a gravitational one. Some cutting-edge research seems to be pointing in that direction. The enormous Birkeland Currents, coming to our planet from our sun, are not fully understood. Is our planet actually more like a dynamo than a simple, gravitational, rotating object? When I get a chance, I’ll study this whole matter further and report on it.