Earth’s ancient magnetic field was significantly different than present day field, new work suggests

According to the latest work of Carnegie’s Peter Driscoll, the ancient magnetic field was notably distinct in comparison to the present day field. The work suggested that it originated from different poles instead of the known two. The work has been published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Our planet generates a strong magnetic field expanding from the core out into space, shielding the atmosphere, drawing away dangerous high-energy particles heading from the Sun and the cosmos.

In the absence of it, Earth would be bombarded by cosmic radiation, and there might be no life on the surface of our planet.

Liquid iron’s motion in the Earth’s outer core drives a phenomenon known as the geodynamo, which creates the magnetic field of Earth. This motion is caused due to the heat loss from the core and the inner core’s solidification.

But the inner core of the planet wasn’t always solid. Scientists have been thinking over the effect the initial solidification of the inner core would have on the magnetic field. But the hunt for when it occurred and what was the response of the field has formed a specifically vexing and indefinable issue for the ones attempting to understand the geologic evolution of Earth, a problem that Driscoll has started resolving.

Scientists manage to reconstruct the magnetic record of the planet via study of ancient rocks, still bearing a signature of the magnetic polarity of the era wherein there formation had taken place. The record indicated that through most of our planet’s history the field was active and dipolar–having two poles.

The geological record also doesn’t demonstrate much proof for significant changes in the ancient magnetic field’s intensity during the last 4 billion years.

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