July 07, 2020
New simulations suggest Earth's magnetic field can change directions 10 times faster than previously thought.
Today, scientists use satellites to track Earth's magnetic field, but to understand the evolution of the planet's magnetic field, researchers must analyze sediment cores, lava samples and human artifacts.
Clues left in minerals that hardened long ago can only offer so much detail. As such, scientists continue to debate the true rates of magnetic field change across time.
"Understanding whether computer simulations of the magnetic field accurately reflect the physical behavior of the geomagnetic field as inferred from geological records can be very challenging," Catherine Constable, lead author of a new study exploring Earth's magnetic field shifts, said in a news release.
In the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Communications, researchers supplied magnetic field generation models with a record of time variations in Earth's shifting magnetic field over the last 100,000 years.