Is the change of the Earth’s magnetic poles dangerous?

Is the change of the Earth’s magnetic poles dangerous?

Imagine that your compass shows a strange picture: north and south are reversed. This is not a failure, but a real scenario of geomagnetic reversal or magnetic field inversion. But what can earthlings and all living organisms expect from such a development of events and is it dangerous?

Magnetic poles move

Do not be afraid of the long name, because there is nothing complicated in it. It is a process where the north and south magnetic poles change places, after which the compass needle shows the opposite direction. It is important to understand that this process does not affect geographic poles.

And this is not a distant event, because the latest data showed a speed of 64 km per year in the direction from Canada to Siberia. Perhaps we are already close to a turning point. Scientists note that over two centuries the magnetization of the Earth has weakened by 15%, and the process has accelerated in the last 20 years.

Why do we need a magnetic field

Is the change of the Earth’s magnetic poles dangerous?

Structure of the Earth's magnetic field

It is important to understand that it is the magnetic field that protects us from a whole cluster of charged particles trying to sneak in from the Sun. This is a kind of shield from the powerful solar winds, cosmic rays and the dangers of space weather.

The stronger this shield is, the less atmosphere our planet loses, and this is a direct link with life. The solar wind is responsible for the shape of the field, which stretches it. So, we are talking about our main defense against cosmic hazards. But what happens at the time of the pole shift? Will this affect the strength of the shield and should we not prepare for a large-scale extinction?

Potential threat

Some scientists are trying to trace the connection of the magnetic field inversion with various catastrophic events, like extinction, in the history of the Earth. It is believed that the last time reversal occurred about 780 000 years ago.

The analysis shows that such inversions occur at intervals of tens of thousands of years, but there were tens of millions of years when nothing happened. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to track the frequency and calculate the forecasts. It remains only to observe the speed of movement.

Earlier we wrote that the speed is growing, so some predict a turnaround already in the next 100 years. Moreover, in 2012 this scenario was considered as one of the variants of the Apocalypse.

What is worth being afraid

Is the change of the Earth’s magnetic poles dangerous?

Direction of magnetic field lines

In theory, with the inversion the magnetic field of the planet is able to reach the zero mark, which means that the protective layer will completely disappear. What does it threaten with? The planet will immediately receive a huge portion of cosmic radiation. We are not adapted to such levels, so we cannot avoid mutations, extinctions and the birth of a new life.

You will also have to face new climatic conditions, because due to contact with the solar wind, the atmosphere will change the chemical composition and physical characteristics. Let's not forget about the animal world, where when moving the orientation is based precisely on the magnetic field. Where are the birds going now? And will not everyone get lost? What can we say about our technology.

Two opposite scenarios

Is the change of the Earth’s magnetic poles dangerous?

Moving the north magnetic pole through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in 1831-2001 The researchers collected data and made a graph of the weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field over the last 7000 years. The fact of weakening is fixed, but what will happen next? There are two scenarios for this.

First: the field will lose some more strength, after which a reversal will occur and it will resume to its usual level. This wobble will be so weak that we will not even feel it in everyday life.

Second: the inversion will happen. The magnetic field is destined to reach the zero point, after which the directions change. At this moment it will completely cease to act, and then people will receive a huge dose of radiation. And it will last for several thousand years.

Some believe that a turnaround will disable the satellites in orbit and all the technology on Earth. However, not everyone agrees with this, because the ISS and other orbiters operate with constant exposure to the solar wind and there are no problems.


No one knows for sure when the geomagnetic reversal will occur and whether our generation will see it. There is an opinion that our ancestors experienced several such events and, perhaps, a portion of additional cosmic radiation affected our evolution and the emergence of new species. For now, you just need to get used to re-orient yourself on the compass and follow the movement of the magnetic field.

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