Books et al.Geomagnetism

Electrical chaos

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  16 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6377, pp. 751
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4944

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


The last time the north and south poles flipped orientation was about 780,000 years ago. The remoteness of this event in time limits what we have been able to infer about it, but the available geological record suggests that the magnetic field remained in a weakened state for 10,000 years or more until it was finally reestablished in the opposite orientation. Should a similar scenario play out today, the weak magnetic field would wreak havoc on our power grids and other infrastructure. The prospect of an impending magnetic reversal sets the backdrop for Alanna Mitchell's new book, The Spinning Magnet.