Finally! Mainstream science is beginning to catch up with me.
New Study Warns: Magnetic Catastrophe that Wiped Out the Neanderthals is Due to Hit Again
Robert W. Felix
Finally! Mainstream science is beginning to catch up with me. A new study just published in Science magazine makes it appear that the very thought of a magnetic reversal causing an extinction is a brand new idea. But if you’ve read either of my books; Not by Fire but by Ice or Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps, you know that I’ve been speaking and writing about just such a scenario for more than 20 years.
“New research suggests a polar flip could be catastrophic,” reads the headline on msm.com.
“A global environmental crisis 42,000 years ago,” declares Science magazine.
“Ancient relic points to a turning point in Earth’s story 42,000 years ago,” echoes the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
“Magnetic Madness: Magnetic catastrophe ‘that wiped out Neanderthals’ is due to happen AGAIN, scientists warn,” shouts The Sun.
“Flipping of Poles and Collapse of Earth’s Magnetic Field Led to Neanderthals’ Extinction, Study Says,” enthuses Sputnik News.
And finally, from NPR: “Ancient Trees Show When The Earth’s Magnetic Field Last Flipped Out.”
Whatever the title, each of these articles speaks of the crisis that ensued the last time the Earth’s magnetic poles exchanged places. New research suggests that a magnetic reversal roughly 42,000 years ago caused dramatic changes on Earth and “possibly changed the course of human history.”
The study focused on an extremely old tree found in New Zealand, a kauri tree. Giant kauri trees can live for thousands of years and can end up well preserved in bogs. “The trees themselves are quite unique,” says co-lead author Professor Alan Cooper. “They’re a time capsule in a way that you don’t really get anywhere else in the world.”
“For the first time ever, we have been able to precisely date the timing and environmental impacts of the last magnetic pole switch,” said co-lead author Chris Turney, an earth scientist at the University of New South Wales, in a UNSW statement. “Using the ancient trees we could measure, and date, the spike in atmospheric radiocarbon levels caused by the collapse of Earth’s magnetic field.”
Inside the old kauri tree, which was still growing when “the most recent magnetic pole flip occurred some 42,000 years ago,” the researchers looked for a form of radioactive carbon (carbon-14) created when cosmic rays hit the upper atmosphere. More cosmic rays rain onto our planet when its magnetic field is weak, so carbon-14 levels shoot up. (I don’t agree that it was “the most recent magnetic pole flip.” See more toward the end of this article.)
The tree, with its calendar-like set of rings, took in this carbon-14 (14C) and preserved it. By studying the rings of the long-dead but well-preserved tree, the scientists obtained a detailed record of approximately 1,700 years. They could see exactly when 14C levels rose, when they peaked, and when they fell again.
By creating a precise timeline, the team was able to compare the magnetic field’s weakening to other well-established timelines in archaeological and climate records.
An analysis of the rings suggested that it was a challenging time for all living things on Earth and “hints at dramatic and possibly catastrophic changes that took place in the atmosphere and on the surface of our planet.”
“This record reveals a substantial increase in the carbon-14 content of the atmosphere culminating during the period of weakening magnetic field strength preceding the polarity switch,” the article in Science explains. “The authors modeled the consequences of this event and concluded that the geomagnetic field minimum caused substantial changes in atmospheric ozone concentration that drove synchronous global climate and environmental shifts.”
If the sun went through one of its periodic conniptions (Grand Solar Minimums) when the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field was turned way down, says Cooper, a solar flare or storm would have sent a burst of radiation that could have had massive consequences for people living back then. (It looks like we may be headed into such a Grand Solar Minimum right now.)
With the Earth’s cosmic shield essentially disappearing, it would have driven life on Earth into caves to protect themselves. “We think that the sharp increases in UV levels, particularly during solar flares, would suddenly make caves very valuable shelters,” says Cooper. “This is what we think actually drove them (the Neanderthals) into caves.” Red skies. Possibly lots of lightning. “You would not want to be outside during daylight hours.”
Into the caves
Dazzling light shows would have been frequent in the sky, says the UNSW statement.
Aurora borealis and aurora australis – the northern and southern lights – are caused by solar winds hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.
Usually confined to the northern and southern parts of the globe, such sights would have become more widespread as the Earth’s magnetic field weakened.
“Early humans around the world would have seen amazing auroras, shimmering veils and sheets across the sky,” says Prof. Cooper.
Ionised air – which is a great conductor for electricity – would have also increased the frequency of electrical storms.
“It must have seemed like the end of days,” Cooper said.
Earth’s magnetic field is vital to all life on the planet because it protects the ozone layer from solar winds, cosmic rays, and harmful radiation. When the field weakens the Earth becomes bathed in ultraviolet radiation and this in turn damages the ozone layer. The scientists believe the magnetic excursion may have even altered the climate and triggered the extinction of many species. (As you know if you’ve ever read ” Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps,” I think the radiation would have also lead to rapid mutations [most of which would have been abject failures]).
“We really think actually there’s quite considerable impacts going on here,” says Cooper. “If you damage the ozone layer, as we’ve found out, you change the way in which the sun’s heat actually impacts the Earth. And as soon as you start doing that, you change weather patterns because wind directions and heating goes AWOL, goes all over the place.”
Until now, scientists have mostly assumed that magnetic field reversals didn’t matter much for life on Earth — although some geologists have noted that die-offs of large mammals seemed to occur in periods when the Earth’s magnetic field was weak.
“From what we know about field strength through time, over the last hundred thousand years,” agrees James Channell, a geologist at the University of Florida, “there does appear to be a linkage between extinctions and low geomagnetic field strength.”
This particular magnetic reversal, known as the Laschamp excursion, is named after lava flows in France. Those lava flows contain bits of iron that basically point the wrong way. Volcanic activity during the Laschamp excursion produced this distinctive iron signature because as the lava cooled through the Curie temperature it locked the bits of iron in place. Iron molecules embedded in sediments around the world also captured a record of this excursion.
“The Laschamps Excursion was the last time the magnetic poles flipped,” explained Professor Turney. “They swapped places for about 800 years before changing their minds and swapping back again.” (Again, I don’t agree that it was “the last time the magnetic poles flipped.”)
“Even though it (the excursion) was short, the North Pole did wander across North America, right out towards New York, actually, and then back again across to Oregon,” says Alan Cooper, an evolutionary biologist with Blue Sky Genetics and the South Australian Museum. Cooper explains that the North Pole “then zoomed down through the Pacific really fast to Antarctica and hung out there for about 400 years and then shot back up through the Indian Ocean to the North Pole again.”
During that time, the Earth’s magnetic-field strength weakened to as low as about 6% of its strength today, says Cooper.
“We essentially had no magnetic field at all – our cosmic radiation shield was totally gone,” agreed Professor Turney
During the magnetic-field breakdown, the Sun experienced several ‘Grand Solar Minima’ (GSM), which are long-term periods of quiet solar activity.
Even though a GSM means less activity on the Sun’s surface, the weakening of its magnetic field can mean more space weather – like solar flares and galactic cosmic rays – could head Earth’s way.
“Unfiltered radiation from space ripped apart air particles in Earth’s atmosphere, separating electrons and emitting light – a process called ionisation,” Prof. Turney added.
“The ionised air ‘fried’ the Ozone layer, triggering a ripple of climate change across the globe.”
Although it’s difficult to draw clear links among all these various events at this stage, said Cooper, “I think that’s always true when you’re putting forward such a radical new theory.” (No, it’s not a radical “new” theory. I proposed this same theory in both “Not by Fire but by Ice” and “Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps.”
Earth Magnetic Pole Shift – Image Credit: The Sun
How does this all of this apply to today?
Because we may well be headed for a magnetic reversal right now.
The Earth’s magnetic poles are known to wander often, but some scientists are concerned about how rapidly the north magnetic pole is now moving across the Northern Hemisphere.
“This speed – alongside the weakening of Earth’s magnetic field by around nine per cent in the past 170 years – could indicate an upcoming reversal,” says Cooper.
“If a similar event happened today,” says Cooper,” the consequences would be huge for modern society. Incoming cosmic radiation would destroy our electric power grids and satellite networks.”
“We urgently need to get carbon emissions down before such a random event happens again,” Cooper warned. (What a silly statement. Carbon emissions have nothing to do with carbon-14.)
And some scientists with the British Geological Survey also believe that a magnetic reversal could be due.
Just for the record
Just for the record, both Not by Fire but by Ice and Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps describe spikes in radioactive 14C at magnetic reversals. Both books also link those spikes, not only to extinctions, but to evolutionary leaps.
Both books also document three other well-known magnetic excursions that have attacked our planet since the Laschamp event. Most notably the Gothenburg excursion of 12,500 years ago, the Mono Lake excursion of 23,000 years ago, and the Lake Mungo excursion of 34,000 years ago. Each of those excursions corresponded with huge extinctions, spikes in radioactivity bathing the planet, Noah’s-deluge-type floods, sharp increases in volcanic and earthquake activity, and an rapid and severe ice build-up. (An incredible 72% of large mammal species went extinct at the Gothenburg magnetic excursion.)
Both books also suggest that our planet is headed for another magnetic reversal right now, and even explain my theory as to why they occur in the first place: equinoctial precession.
I have previously posted a few not-so-pleasant articles about Professor Turney. I really resent that he and the other academicians are trying to take credit for “a radical new theory.”
Professor trapped in ice trying to ‘hide/disguise’ his involvement with Carbonscape?
According to reader Jeremy Poynton, Prof Turney decided to ‘hide/disguise’ his direct involvement
Professor trapped in Antarctic ice “trying to get rich off AGW hysteria”?
“Turney has a carbon something or other company trying to get rich off the AGW hysteria – Carbonscape.com,” says reader
Icebreaker now also stuck in the ice – Video
“Chris Turney, the leader of the expedition, is a professor of climate change at the University of New South Wales,” says CFact. “He rounded up a few dozen pals, chartered a Russian ship, and set off on a taxpayer funded junket to Antarctica.”
Ship stuck in Antarctic ice arrives in New Zealand
Research ship that expected to help prove global warming but instead became stranded in heavy ice in Antarctica on Christmas Eve – The Akademik Shokalskiy – finally sailed into a New Zealand harbor on Tuesday morning.
Thanks to Doctor Klaus Kaiser, Zebedee, Nathan Brazil, Joel Mona for many of the above links