APR 08, 2018 6:03 PM PDT

How A Polar Flip Would Impact the Earth

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


The Earth has both a North and Sound pole, but what would happen if they flipped positions? According to planetary scientists, the result wouldn't be pretty.

The Earth's magnetic field is what shields all life on our planet from harmful cosmic radiation. If a polar flip occurred, then scientists say the effectiveness of Earth's natural shielding from cosmic radiation could weaken by up to 90%, making life more susceptible to cancer and other adverse side-effects.

Apart from these apparent difficulties for life on our planet, a polar flip could also introduce issues for our power grid. Charged particles entering Earth's atmosphere could fry electronics and wreak havoc on the tools we use every day in our lives. These include computers, smartphones, and even the devices governments use for national security.

In a somewhat alarming wakeup call, scientists say that we're long overdue for a polar flip. This phenomenon used to occur once every 300,000 years in Earth's past, but so far the planet has gone more than 700,000 years since its last flip.

Given that food for thought, a polar flip could occur any time, but scientists don't yet know how to predict when it will happen.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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