Scientists have made a shocking discovery, saying that the Earth’s magnetic field is weakening than it was before.
The magnetic field is vital to life on our planet, because it protects us from cosmic radiation and charged particles emitted by the sun.
A large region of low magnetic intensity was observed between Africa and South America, called the South Atlantic abnormality, and formed a center of minimum intensity in only five years.
Scientists speculate that this weakness is a sign that the Earth is heading to the reflection of the pole, when the north and south poles shift from their places, and the last time this happened was 780 thousand years ago.
This anomaly causes damage to satellites and other spacecraft flying in the region, many of which suffer from technical defects.
The discovery was made by a team at the European Space Agency (ESA) by pulling data from the agency’s Swarm satellite constellation, which is a group of satellites within a scientific space mission that will study the Earth’s magnetic field.
The satellites are specifically designed to identify and measure the different magnetic signals that make up the Earth’s magnetic field, allowing experts to identify weak regions.
The European Space Agency has been studying the magnetic field of our planet since the end of 2013.
The mission consists of three identical satellites that provide high-quality field measurements at three different orbital levels.
“The new eastern minimum has appeared in the abnormalities of the South Atlantic over the past decade and in recent years has been developing strongly,” said Jürgen Matzka of the German Research Center for Earth Sciences.
“We are very fortunate to have the Swarm satellites in orbit to investigate the evolution of the South Atlantic anomaly. The challenge now is to understand the processes in the Earth’s core that drive these changes,” he added.
The weak domain has been under expert watch for years knowing that it has lost 9% of its intensity over the past 200 years.
However, it has recently developed a greater vulnerability zone between Africa and South America.
This is not a cause for concern, the European Space Agency says, adding: “The low density in the South Atlantic is now occurring well within what are considered normal levels of fluctuations.”
After analyzing the data collected by Swarm, the team found that between 1970 and 2020, power in this area drained from about 24,000 nanoteslas to 22,000.
However, more surprisingly, the anomaly has grown and moved west at a rate of about 12 miles per hour.
Additionally, the team found that in just the past five years, the center of minimal density has been formed in southwest Africa, indicating that South Atlantic abnormalities can be divided into two separate cells.
This shift does not happen overnight, but it does happen slowly over hundreds or even thousands of years.
When this happens, multiple magnetic poles emerge from the north and south around the Earth.
One of the theories of the weak field is that the Earth may turn toward a polar reflection.
If the poles are on their way to reflection, this will happen over several thousand years, according to scientists, who say it is unlikely that the field will completely disappear.
The greatest impact of the reflection of the magnetic field will be on birds, turtles and other creatures that use the magnetic field to move around.
According to scientists, one of the reasons they do not know much about the magnetic history of the South Atlantic Atlantic anomaly from Earth is that they do not have enough archaeological magnetic data (physical evidence of magnetism in the Earth’s archive), preserved in rocks.
Source: Daily Mail