More proof that magnetic reversals cause extinctions

A new study published just last month ties magnetic reversals to mass extinctions.
This is exciting to me, because that’s what I’ve been saying for years in both Not by Fire but by Ice and Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps.

Because our magnetic field weakens during a polarity reversal, the authors propose that more oxygen ions are able to escape our atmosphere, which leads to mass extinctions.

Using a simulated oxygen escape rate on Mars, the found that a geomagnetic reversal could enhance the oxygen escape rate by 3–4 orders.


10 thoughts on “More proof that magnetic reversals cause extinctions”

  1. c O2
    without the TWO oxygen molecules produced we would be in trouble anyway
    funny they never seem to twig humans etc also happen to need oxygen and cutting co2 also CUTS oxygen production

  2. So….we are losing oxygen each reversal? The plants are providing more than enough, I am supposing.

  3. Theories,
    still correlating to carbon dating?
    Believe the excess Co2 brought forth from volcanic activity during reversals will protect the Earth from extreme O2 loss for the duration, which should be short lived, from a complete reversal?

    Where the O2 loss will most likely be lost will be due to extreme plant life termination! Due to the total ice and snow coverage during the ice age.

    Will this be the big one? Or will the really big ice age hit in 1000 years? Guess we will have to wait and see.

    theory but sounds to me like a sound theory.

  4. This is quite interesting. The article explains that During a weak or non-existent Earth-Magnetic Field, Solar wind will strip away ions of Oxygen from the atmosphere. If this is true, we should be able to see evidence of this in Ice core records correlated to Magnetic Reversal Events(MRE’s). We do have a fairly reliable fossil record of CO2 that goes very far back in time to about the upper Cambrian. Is there a similar record for O2?
    I also wonder what other atmospheric gases are also subjected to this stripping by the Solar Wind?

    • In considering this for a few days I made a guess which is probably somewhat accurate(without any hard figures at least), and it goes like this:
      Earth started as a Oxygen poor planet basically what Asimov would have called a Nitrogen-CO2 planet, Anerobic cyanobacteria (as Stromatolites)ruled –

      Cyanobacteria are photosynthesizers and rapidly increased oxygen levels while reducing CO2 levels.

      Ancient global pollution
      The first “pollution crisis” hit the Earth about 2.2 billion years ago. Several pieces of evidence — the presence of iron oxides in paleosols (fossil soils), the appearance of “red beds” containing metal oxides, and others — point to a fairly rapid increase in levels of oxygen in the atmosphere at about this time. Atmospheric oxygen levels in the Archean had been less than 1% of present levels, but by about 1.8 billion years ago, oxygen levels were greater than 15% of present levels and rising. It may seem strange to call this a “pollution crisis,” since most of the organisms that we are familiar with not only tolerate but require oxygen to live. However, oxygen is a powerful degrader of organic compounds. Even today, many bacteria and protists are killed by oxygen. Organisms had to evolve biochemical methods for rendering oxygen harmless; one of these methods, oxidative respiration, had the advantage of producing large amounts of energy for the cell, and is now found in most eukaryotes.” –

      When CO2 levels begin the big decline, O2 increased dramatically. And since plants algae and cyanobacteria are always producing O2, it might seem that Earth needs to be purged of excess O2 from time to time.
      From this graph –
      I think it safe to make a general assumption that for every precipitous drop in CO2, there is a corresponding rise in O2. But I’m sure it’s much more complicated than that.

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