Scientists have found that if the Earth’s magnetic field were to flip now, as it has several times in the past, it would cause devastating damage to life and the economy.
The Earth’s magnetic field not only protects our planet and its life from deadly solar radiation, it also keeps the magnetic direction north and south. The shield is created by our planet’s outer core of liquid iron rotating around a solid inner core. The dynamic action creates an invisible field that runs through the north and south pole.
Many animal species, primarily birds, sense the magnetic poles; this helps them move around the globe during periods of mass migration. Humans have become increasingly reliant on the magnetic field as we increase our independence from things like the satellites we use for navigation, cell phones, and satellite television.
Every 200,000 to 300,000 years, the north and south magnetic poles change places, and if that happens now, the world could change dramatically. Agathe Lise-Pronovost, an Earth science researcher at the University of Melbourne, says, “We don’t know when the next geomagnetic excursion will occur. But if it were to happen today, it would be terrible. Satellites and navigation applications would become useless and power distribution systems would be down, costing $7 billion to $48 billion in losses in the United States alone.”