Friday, December 09, 2005

Wanderlustige Earth's Magnetic Pole Picks Up Pace, Heading To Siberia


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Not only is Santa Claus losing his elven workshop as the ice melts in the Arctic, his candy cane pole has developed a serious case of wanderlust and is hiking rapidly towards Sibera. The reindeer prefer Lapland, of course. This is quite a conflict.

From Yahoo:
Earth's north magnetic pole is drifting away from North America and toward Siberia at such a clip that Alaska might lose its spectacular Northern Lights in the next 50 years, scientists said Thursday.

Despite accelerated movement over the past century, the possibility that Earth's modestly fading magnetic field will collapse is remote. But the shift could mean Alaska may no longer see the sky lights known as auroras, which might then be more visible in more southerly areas of Siberia and Europe.
If God is an intelligent designer, wouldn't he make Santa's job easier? I mean, capriciously moving the North Pole around forcing poor Santa to spend many precious hours trying to find his home base that just won't stay put! Off he flies on Christmas Eve only to come home and find no sign of the candy striped NP marker nor his wife or even Ruddy the Red!

Or maybe, Rudy is"Red"? A secret agent for the nacent communists in Russia?

Actually, it is very interesting, this awry polar circumanvigation. After all, like my property lines are being screwed up by this north polar preambulations. Border disputes are breaking out as we claim this tree or that rock, using our compasses to track where the imaginary lines were drawn back in 1785! Border disputes can start wars and if my property line is wavering, you can imagine the mess going on elsewhere! After all, I detailed how Congress is messing around with the designated lines for the Arctic Wildlife Reserve!

There are other effects, too, namely, what is going on in our planet? Why does this happen? Do we really understand what is at work here? Will it happen soon? Will it screw up our computers and such if it suddenly switches poles? Will the Australians get to call themselves "Northerners" while Canadians pretend to be the far south? What will the South say in the USA? "We won the Civil War because we are the North!"????

It will be a hellacious mess.

Computer similation of magnetic forces

From APOD:

Paleomagnetic records indicate that the geomagnetic field has existed for at least three billion years. However, based on the size and electrical conductivity of the Earth's core, the field, if it were not continually being generated, would decay away in only about 20,000 years since the temperature of the core is too high to sustain permanent magnetism. In addition, paleomagnetic records show that the dipole polarity of the geomagnetic field has reversed many times in the past, the mean time between reversals being roughly 200,000 years with individual reversal events taking only a couple thousand years.

These observations argue for a mechanism within the Earth's interior that continually generates the geomagnetic field. It has long been speculated that this mechanism is a convective dynamo operating in the Earth's fluid outer core, which surrounds its solid inner core, both being mainly composed of iron. The solid inner core is roughly the size of the moon but at the temperature of the surface of the sun. The convection in the fluid outer core is thought to be driven by both thermal and compositional buoyancy sources at the inner core boundary that are produced as the Earth slowly cools and iron in the iron-rich fluid alloy solidifies onto the inner core giving off latent heat and the light constituent of the alloy. These buoyancy forces cause fluid to rise and the Coriolis forces, due to the Earth's rotation, cause the fluid flows to be helical. Presumably this fluid motion twists and shears magnetic field, generating new magnetic field to replace that which diffuses away.
The sun has a very active magnetic field. One wonders about the intense core of the sun, that stubborn part that, when a star blows up or flares out, which remains behind, non-gaseous, spinning at a mad rate, producing little or no light but having a gravitational pool that makes escape from the surface nearly impossible. The act of dying, the final explosion, propels gas outwards but no rocket traveler dares approach the surface of even the smallest dead star!

The dense core of the earth bumping and shoving on the fluid mantle which is shielded by vast oceans of H2O: part of the whole concept of a "living earth" as a hyper-entity which has a sense of growing and changing that is amazing. Even an "intelligent designer" would be hard put to imagine something as variable, odd, bizarre and interesting as our home world. Gads.

I wish we took better care of this place. And when Santa is forced to relocate to the South Pole, he will have to use penguins or kangaroos to pull his sledge, won't he? Rudolf the red nosed penguin. La la la.

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