Earth’s magnetic poles may be poised to flip

Watts Up With That?

Article by Phil Livermore, Associate Professor of geophysics, University of Leeds and Jon Mound, Associate Professor of Geophysics, University of Leeds

Schematic illustration of the invisible magnetic field lines generated by the Earth, represented as a dipole magnet field. In actuality, our magnetic shield is squeezed in closer to Earth on the Sun-facing side and extremely elongated on the night-side due to the solar wind. Earth's polarity is not a constant. Unlike a classic bar magnet, the matter governing Earth's magnetic field moves around. Geophysicists are pretty sure that the reason Earth has a magnetic field is because its solid iron core is surrounded by a fluid ocean of hot, liquid metal. The flow of liquid iron in Earth's core creates electric currents, which in turn creates the magnetic field. Credit: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh Schematic illustration of the invisible magnetic field lines generated by the Earth, represented as a dipole magnet field. In actuality, our magnetic shield is squeezed in closer to Earth on the Sun-facing side and extremely elongated on the night-side due to the solar wind. Earth’s polarity is not a constant. Unlike a classic bar magnet, the matter governing Earth’s magnetic field moves around. Geophysicists are pretty sure that the reason Earth has a magnetic field is because its solid iron core is surrounded by a fluid ocean of hot, liquid metal. The flow of liquid iron in Earth’s core creates electric currents, which in turn creates the magnetic field. Credit: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh

The Earth’s magnetic field surrounds our planet like an invisible force field – protecting life…

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