August 23, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

Stalactite Indicates Ultrafast Magnetic Reversals

Contrary to what geophysicists have claimed for decades, magnetic reversals may occur ‘ridiculously quickly.’ Or is confidence in experts ridiculous?

Surprise, surprise. We’ve been told that magnetic reversals, recorded in rock signatures, take thousands of years. But in one human lifetime? That sounds ridiculous. It is being seriously proposed by an international team, reports Brandon Specktor in

Amazing FactsLuckily, full reversals are uncommon and unfold slowly over thousands of years. (The last full reversal occurred about 780,000 years ago.) But according to a new study published Monday (Aug. 20) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, partial or temporary shifts in Earth’s magnetic poles can occur much, much faster than was previously thought possible — potentially, within a single human lifetime.

In the new study, an international team of scientists analyzed 16,000 years of geomagnetic history coded into the atoms of an ancient stalagmite in China. This story written in stone told them that once, about 98,000 years ago, the planet’s magnetic field suddenly flipped polarity in as little as 100 years — roughly 30 times faster than the generally expected rate, and 10 times faster than what was thought to be the fastest rate possible.

The take-home lesson from this paper is not that geophysicists have finally got their story right. It’s that their story has been amazingly wrong before now. Can any of them now say that science fully understands how planetary magnetic fields work?

Knowing that our planet is capable of such spontaneous magnetic tantrums is important, mainly because our magnetic shield can diminish to about 10-percent effectiveness when it’s in the middle of a reversal. Fortunately, that weakening isn’t enough to threaten life on Earth; after all, Roberts pointed out, the planet’s magnetic field has been reversing periodically for billions of years, and life still persists. Human technology, on the other hand, might have a rougher time coping.

Should humans feel confident about the latest prophecies by geophysicists? Specktor ends by scaring readers about how humans will be affected by one of these ultrafast reversals.

Coronal Mass Ejection takes aim at Earth. Credit: SOHO/NASA

Solar weather events, such as solar flares and solar wind storms, occur when blazing-hot, supercharged particles of energy blast out of the sun’s surface and whiz across space on a collision course toward Earth. Even when our planet’s magnetic field is at its strongest, a powerful enough solar storm can rip right past those defenses and wreak havoc on anything electrical.

That surge of charged particles can garble radio signals, fry satellite and spacecraft instruments, and overload circuit breakers to take down entire power grids. That’s exactly what happened on March 13, 1989, when a massive solar storm crackled through the atmosphere and knocked the power out in Quebec, Canada, for 9 hours. An earlier, even larger solar storm in 1859, known as the Carrington event, reportedly caused telegraph wires to short-circuit all around the United States, throwing off sparks that started fires and electrocuted office workers.

Storms far less powerful than these could cause much more damage if they happened to hit while Earth’s magnetic field was in the midst of a reversal, Roberts said. The result would likely be trillions of dollars in damage to our electrical infrastructure, and right now, there’s no plan for dealing with an event of that magnitude.

Now that we are terrified, we can take confidence that such an event is likely “a long way in the future,” he says. And yet it would seem that ultrafast perturbations even in the century-or-two range should have had disastrous consequences on life over earth history. A hundred years could represent a hundred generations of birds trying to migrate, a hundred generations of butterflies trying to get to Mexico, and millions of salmon or sea turtles unable to find their food or breeding sites. The experts don’t talk about that in detail. The paper mentions that “rapid geomagnetic changes can disturb animal navigation” – something that should have happened many times in the numerous slow-and-gradual reversals that moyboy geophysicists believe have occurred.

The authors do mention the decay of the magnetic field strength:

Full geomagnetic polarity reversals are relatively rare (3). The intensity of Earth’s magnetic field varies continuously, and it has decreased by ∼10% over the past century, which has led to suggestions of an impending reversal (11, 12), although it is controversial (44).

As geophysicist Henry Richter discusses in chapter 7 of Spacecraft Earth, reversals do not solve the time problem. Reversals change the polarity, but not the strength of the magnetic field. The monotonic decay of the earth’s magnetic field—one of the longest-measured phenomena in science—implies that the earth cannot be billions of years old.

Update 8/24/18: Astrobiology Magazine cites the paper in an entry, “Earth more Sun-exposed with rapid magnetic field reversals.” Like the other popular summaries, though, it fails to mention the decay of the field strength, suggesting instead that the field regains its full strength after a reversal (a violation of conservation of energy and the second law of thermodynamics). The article also fails to mention the impact on migrating animals. It does end with a slight reproach on the knowledge of the experts, quoting co-author Andrew Roberts, who says tontologically, “The record provides important insights into ancient magnetic field behaviour, which has turned out to vary much more rapidly than previously thought.

It remains to be seen what creationists will say about this paper. For one thing, it shows that secular scientific theories are always subject to revision. The old-age assumption is built into the thinking of secular scientists up front, but often scientists are surprised by data that suggest much shorter time scales. We see this all the time in planetary science, when objects appear much younger than previously thought.

Another possible implication is support for Russ Humphreys’ theory of rapid reversals after the Flood. An advantageous aspect of rapid reversals is that it would not have disturbed animal migrations that could have threatened them with extinction. I would like to see discussion on this point citing this paper.

A final implication is that scientists cannot ‘know’ about the past with certainty when there were no observers. They only have proxies for past events: i.e., measurements in stalactites ‘stand for’ reversals in the geomagnetic field. The further removed a proxy is from its reference, and the more assumptions built into the proxy, the more the uncertainty. What’s better than a proxy? An Eyewitness. Genesis provides One!


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  • arcturus says:

    OK, Problem with Russ Humphreys’ theory is that he (and his theory) believes more in GOD hater Alfred Einstein and his (fake) special theory of relativity (STR)( limiting speed of light waves ) than CREATOR GOD of Genesis.

    Simple calculus of supposed (not observed or experimentally proven) speeds should lift red flags long ago, but not for Russ.

    Speeds of suns winds (actually high charged particles up to 1000km per sec) + (theoretical speed of revolving GODs Earth 29,8 km per sec( no experiment ever have proved that) + (theoretical speed of GODs Earth surface ( not atmosphere ) 1660 km per hour) ( The Michelson-Gale Experiment did detect kind of movement between Earth surface and surrounding ether that was very close to this speed or “Sidereal Relative Rotation”.

    Now just think about physical effects on the surface and magnetic field when 1000km/sec blazing-hot, supercharged particles (radiation) from Sun crushing in against 29,8 km/sec traveling Earth with it magnetic field and same time Earth surface rotating at 1660km/hour.

    And what about speed and direction of Flood waters if believe that GODs Earth surface speed are 1660 km per hour. Absurd and illogical. And You continue to advocate for Genesis ( in very selective way by the way) like Russ Humphreys pretending to do.
    GOD bless

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