Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Inquisitor

What would happen if Earths magnetic field turned off?

Recommended Posts

What would happen if the magnetic field of Earth was shut down for a second???

 

As I understand it, the magnetic field protects us from most of solar radiation. So, would this radiation have time enought to hit Earth in full force, if Earth's magnetic field did turn off for just a second?

 

And if it did, how much damage would the solar radiation do to living beings and electronic equipments??? Would it burn everything??? Would it be the end of the world for us humans???

 

The reason for this question is the upcoming swap of the magnetic poles. I'm rather worried that during the incident, the magnetic field might go off for a while. Is this probable??

 

Mind you, if this were probable, I suppose the science community would not tell it to the man on the street, so as not to cause mass panic...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mind you, if this were probable, I suppose the science community would not tell it to the man on the street, so as not to cause mass panic...

 

First of all, I would like to get a bit angry that you even think that "the scientists" are one giant conspiracy who keep all bad news away from the man on the street. I am scientist, but also the man on the street. We're trying frickin' hard to tell all the bad news to the man on the street, but all too often it's the man on the street who isn't listening. Climate change, giant garbage patch in the ocean, earthquakes in California - people have plenty of reason for mass panic, but they seem to ignore it all.

 

Besides, the "swap" of the magnetic poles (Magnetic field reversals) is not going to happen just like that. It's not like switching the light on/off.

 

It will happen fast with respect to the age of the earth, but quite slowly with respect to a human life. Wikipedia says the following on the topic:

There is no clear theory as to how the geomagnetic reversals might have occurred. Some scientists have produced models for the core of the Earth wherein the magnetic field is only quasi-stable and the poles can spontaneously migrate from one orientation to the other over the course of a few hundred to a few thousand years.

 

So make sure that you pick the right moment to panic, or else everybody will laugh at you. Imagine that you start panicking because your house is on fire, whereas in reality it might just burn down somewhere in the next millennium. :)

 

But yes, some time in the future, it may be that the magnetic field is weakened and in some places negligible, and that would be a reason to take some serious measures... but panic about some slow process - humans never do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for that answer!

 

But i say, the road the migrating poles travel will have more radiation from the sun, will they not? I mean poles do suck in the radiation more than any other part of the mag fields..?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect that it would take more than a second for the Van Allen belts to collapse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did anyone see the movie "The Core"? Was it realistic?

 

Apparently magnetic pole reversals do not cause mass extinctions.

 

"Because the magnetic field has never been observed to reverse by humans with instrumentation, and the mechanism of field generation is not well understood, it is difficult to say what the characteristics of the magnetic field might be leading up to such a reversal. Some speculate that a greatly diminished magnetic field during a reversal period will expose the surface of the earth to a substantial and potentially damaging increase in cosmic radiation. However, Homo erectus and their ancestors certainly survived many previous reversals. There is no uncontested evidence that a magnetic field reversal has ever caused any biological extinctions. A possible explanation is that the solar wind may induce a sufficient magnetic field in the Earth's ionosphere to shield the surface from energetic particles even in the absence of the Earth's normal magnetic field.

 

"Although the inspection of past reversals does not indicate biological extinctions, present society with its reliance on electricity and electromagnetic effects (e.g. radio, satellite communications) may be vulnerable to technological disruptions in the event of a full field reversal."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would you care to elaborate? Does the magnetic field depend upon currents in the Earth's core?

 

I agree that gliding thru solid rock by means of a rotating lazer cutting a pathway sounds far-fetched, but long-term human space travel to the stars seems almost as preposterous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Would you care to elaborate? Does the magnetic field depend upon currents in the Earth's core?

 

I agree that gliding thru solid rock by means of a rotating lazer cutting a pathway sounds far-fetched, but long-term human space travel to the stars seems almost as preposterous.

 

well, besides the gliding through rock thing there are the microwaves melting the golden gate bridge(the microwaves get through anyway, there would be no increase never mind enough to boil the oceans). unobtanium, pacemakers going kaput(if they stopped from the magnetic field disappearing then they would stop everytime you walked past a lightbulb, fridge magnet or other person with a pacemaker.

 

everything its way way overexagerated and made up. the closest thing to reality was the birds being confused. they probably would retain enough sense to avoid buildings but their long range capabilities would be significantly hindered.

 

at worst, the conditions on earth will be the same as living under the aurora's (sans the cold from extreme latitudes unless you live at extreme latitudes) where the particle ratiation flux is actually higher than normal due to focusing from the magnetic field.

 

there would probably be some increased atmospheric erosion but nothing we'd need to worry about for the next few billion years(by which point the earth would be destroyed by the sun exploding so the point is moot)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe we could put a pair of these babies at the poles, allowing for an excellent energy storage (very little loss, can deal very quickly with fluctuations) and as a side effect, if it were big enough (and bigger is better), then we may be able to replace earth's magnetic field.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What would happen if the magnetic field of Earth was shut down for a second???

 

As I understand it, the magnetic field protects us from most of solar radiation. So, would this radiation have time enought to hit Earth in full force, if Earth's magnetic field did turn off for just a second?

 

And if it did, how much damage would the solar radiation do to living beings and electronic equipments??? Would it burn everything??? Would it be the end of the world for us humans???

 

you would have , of course , one full second , of the full force of solar radiation , plasmic radiation from the sun

 

think of it....

 

The reason for this question is the upcoming swap of the magnetic poles. I'm rather worried that during the incident, the magnetic field might go off for a while. Is this probable??

 

yes

 

or at the very least , dis-ordered

 

Mind you, if this were probable, I suppose the science community would not tell it to the man on the street, so as not to cause mass panic...

 

perhaps

 

but the man on the street will see whats happening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

North, see post #8 dude there would not be an effect, even if it shut down for a long period of time it would be like living at the poles at worst.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
North, see post #8 dude there would not be an effect, even if it shut down for a long period of time it would be like living at the poles at worst.

 

its not about post # 8 , dude:rolleyes:

 

what my post is about , is the OP of this thread

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
its not about post # 8 , dude:rolleyes:

 

what my post is about , is the OP of this thread

 

Then the answer is as post #8 said, nothing would happen other than compasses and birds losing their way!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Then the answer is as post #8 said, nothing would happen other than compasses and birds losing their way!

 

so the magentoshpere of the Earth disapears for even second and all that happens is that birds get confused ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually I doubt even that would happen if was for one second, you could be exposed to the vacuum of space out side the earths magnetic field during a extreme plasma ejection for one second with no bad effects, the vacuum would the worst of it. It's not like the suns plasma wind is a blow torch and we are protected by a thick atmosphere that is the equivalent of several inches of lead at least. The worst that could happen if the field was down long term would atmosphere erosion, eventually after many millions of year it would get critical, but no there would be no instant or extreme effects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually I doubt even that would happen if was for one second,

 

neither do I

 

you could be exposed to the vacuum of space out side the earths magnetic field during a extreme plasma ejection for one second with no bad effects, the vacuum would the worst of it.

 

the suns plasma ejection is continuous and perpetual in that one second

 

the energy absorbed by the Earth would be fantastic

 

 

 

 

It's not like the suns plasma wind is a blow torch and we are protected by a thick atmosphere that is the equivalent of several inches of lead at least.

 

we are protected by several inches of lead ?

 

where is the equivalent of lead in our atmosphere , and what is this " equivalence composed of ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The worst that could happen if the field was down long term would atmosphere erosion, eventually after many millions of year it would get critical, but no there would be no instant or extreme effects.

 

you surely do not understand the Earths magnetosphere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no lead in our atmosphere. It's just that having a giant cloud of oxygen and nitrogen around you acts a bit like having lead -- the atmospheric gas absorbs or reflects the radiation like lead would. It just takes quite a few miles of air to equal a few inches of lead in effectiveness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted by Moontanman

Actually I doubt even that would happen if was for one second,

 

neither do I

 

birds do navigate by the earths magnetic field, a one second disruption would be meaningless.

 

 

the suns plasma ejection is continuous and perpetual in that one second

 

the energy absorbed by the Earth would be fantastic

 

No it wouldn't, the suns plasma ejection isn't that strong, as i said you could be exposed to it directly for one second with no mag field or atmosphere and not even notice and have no ill effects. The sun's plasma output is continuous but it does get much worse during a mass plasma ejection but even that wouldn't kill you in one second. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't bother you at all, Apollo Astronauts were exposed to the suns radiation for the length of their journey but they weren't killed or harmed. Do you have any evidence the Earth would absorb a fantastic amount of energy?

 

 

 

 

we are protected by several inches of lead ?

 

where is the equivalent of lead in our atmosphere , and what is this " equivalence composed of ?

 

The mass of our atmosphere protects us from particle radiation the same way several inches of lead would, its the mass of the atoms in the air. Our atmosphere only allows a narrow window of the suns radiation to penetrate.

 

 

 

 

The worst that could happen if the field was down long term would atmosphere erosion, eventually after many millions of year it would get critical, but no there would be no instant or extreme effects.

 

 

 

you surely do not understand the Earths magnetosphere

 

It's a certainty that you don't

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is no lead in our atmosphere. It's just that having a giant cloud of oxygen and nitrogen around you acts a bit like having lead -- the atmospheric gas absorbs or reflects the radiation like lead would. It just takes quite a few miles of air to equal a few inches of lead in effectiveness.

 

and do think that this " miles " of air can actually protect us from the onslaught of the plasmic solar energy produced by the sun ?

 

think upon this;

 

a solar ejection by a sun spot interferes with EM ( electromagnetic instruments ) with the Earths magnetosphere in place

 

so what would free solar plasmic energy do with NO magnetoshere in place ?

 

havic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and do think that this " miles " of air can actually protect us from the onslaught of the plasmic solar energy produced by the sun ?

 

Oh yes it does indeed do that.

 

think upon this;

 

a solar ejection by a sun spot interferes with EM ( electromagnetic instruments ) with the Earths magnetosphere in place

 

so what would free solar plasmic energy do with NO magnetoshere in place ?

havic

 

The Earth magnetic field is not all that strong, it's quite weak and easy for the solar wind to disrupt but the energy contained in the solar wind is not "extreme" as i said the Apollo astronauts spent several days out side the earths magnetic field and were not harmed.

 

You have an exaggerated idea of the energy levels involved. I suggest a few google searches will help clear up this misunderstanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Earth magnetic field is not all that strong, it's quite weak and easy for the solar wind to disrupt

 

yet the magnetosphere of the Earth keeps us alive

 

 

but the energy contained in the solar wind is not "extreme"

 

meaning ?

 

as i said the Apollo astronauts spent several days out side the earths magnetic field and were not harmed.

 

they were protected by the capsule and/or by their suits

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The capsule did not have much in the way of radiation shielding, from what I recall. A thick atmosphere can serve that purpose well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

yet the magnetosphere of the Earth keeps us alive

 

No the Earths atmosphere keeps us alive, the magnetisphere helps keep tghe atmosphere from being sputtered away into space over the long term but not much more than that.

 

meaning ?

 

You are the one who said it was extreme. You should proviode links or some sort of evidence to support it I did.

 

 

they were protected by the capsule and/or by their suits

 

No the capsule and their suits were far to thin to help them avoid radiation in space, as a matter of fact a solar storm almost caught one of the crews, if it had they would have died, slowly, of radiation sickness.

 

 

See these links

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_electromagnetic_opacity.svg

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_wind

 

the main and real danger is this

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection

 

The atmosphere provides real protection from both solar and cosmic ray particles, the magnetic feild proveds more and is important but the solar with is not capable of burning the surface of the earth as long as we have an atmosphere. It would cause us problems but it wouldn't kill us immediatly in any less than millions of years and most of that would be due to loss of atmosphere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just remmebered while reading the title of this thread that there is studies that tells that the earth's magnetic field will switch poles , so my question is , will this have any impact on the earth spin on itself , knowing that the mgnetic field depend on the current of the earth's core , wouldnt the change of this current change the spin of the earth ??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.