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What will pole reversal cause to modern world and civilization?

Physics Asked by jumpjack on December 11, 2020

I don’t think it’s just a matter of reorienting maps and recalibrating compasses.
In any case, how long does a inversion last? hours, days, weeks, years? If it lasts days or more…. would Sun fry Earth surface?

One Answer

Our knowledge of reversals comes from numerical models and paleomagnetic records in rocks, and the latter provide pretty sketchy information because a reversal is a blink of an eye in geologic time. However, as the Wikipedia article states, most paleomagnetists estimate that reversals take about 1,000 to 10,000 years. The risk from radiation comes from a likely weakening of the magnetic field, but the field will not disappear completely, so the risk is not very large. There's no evidence that any species have ever gone extinct because of a reversal. The reduced field and increased flux of charged particles could "result in increased risks for satellites, aviation and ground-based electrical infrastructure", but we'd have hundreds of years to adapt the technology. And there might be aurorae at lower latitudes, which would be pretty cool!

Answered by A. Newell on December 11, 2020

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