Pole Shift - A Disaster Waiting to Happen
by William Meikle
An impending magnetic, or pole, reversal was one of the hot topics of the 80's when the book "Pole Shift" by John White was a best seller and it was thought that it might happen any time now.
As with most prophesies around the end of the twentieth century, the sense of impending doom has lessened and the pole shift "warning" has been downgraded to a pole shift "watch."
But this is one of those things that are very probably going to happen at some point "soon" in the earth's history....it's just that mankind has a very small view of the overall earth clock, and to the earth, "soon" could mean anytime in the next 100,000 years, so don't hold your breath. Scientists currently tell us that pole shifts occur, on average, once every 500,000 years. The last pole shift was 780,000 years ago so we are overdue for one (just as we are overdue for a big asteroid strike, and for a super volcano eruption....just hope they don't all happen at once!)
The planet's geologic record has very clear evidence that pole shifts have occurred many times in the past and there is no doubt that they will occur again. ( The phenomenon referred to here as a "pole shift" is not the shifting of the crust by thousands of miles, but rather, changes in the magnetic field of the planet. Some unscrupulous writers in the 70s and 80s tried to imply that the continents were going to start sliding about like melting ice on a hot plate, but that's not current scientific thinking.)
However, its not all good news. Until recently, it was thought that pole shifts were a gradual process. But recent evidence from studying the alignment of iron particles in lava flows found one case where the Earth's magnetic field shifted 80 degrees in 13 days.
Compasses would obviously be effected as would all navigational instruments which depend on them. So shipping, air-flight and all GPS equipment, including satellites, would be off-line until we figured out how to cope with the reversal. Global trade would be brought quickly to a standstill, and the winners would probably turn out to be those that remembered how to navigate in the old ways, such as nomadic people and sea-farers on old sailing ships
Migratory birds, fish and animals would become confused. This might lead to them wandering far from current feeding and breeding grounds, into areas not suitable for them, and could quite easily be concieved as leading to mass extinctions, habitat destruction and loss of life, both animal and human.
While this latter theory is controversial, scientists have already shown that insects can actually be killed as a result of fluctuations in magnetic fields around them, and the same experimenters have shown similar, though smaller, effects in humans, leaving them dazed and confused. If you consider the number of humans involved in operating machinery that would be life-threatening in the case of faulty operation, you can see that global effects would probably be large.
In addition large scale fluctuations in magnetic fields would knock out power suppliers, and all electro-magnetic communication could conceivably be disrupted for long periods of time.
A rapid magnetic reversal would include very large scale fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field, which extends out 60,000 km from the surface of the planet. It is also thought by many doomsayers that a diminished magnetic field which shields us from energetic particles emitted continuously by the sun would leave us vulnerable to the harmful effects of magnetic storms spawned by solar flares and sun spots. This would probably be hazardous to our health :)
BUT the magnetic field does not protect the earth from solar flares. It simply guides the ions of the solar wind to the polar regions, where their energetic collisions with the upper atmosphere produce the luminous plasma known as the Northern and Southern Lights (Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis). It is the earth's atmosphere that actually prevents the solar wind from reaching the surface, and that is independent of the magnetic field.
It is thought by some geologists that a rapid switch in the magnetic field could lead to stresses in rock strata and lead to major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, with the possible scenario of the "Ring of Fire" all going off at once and sending the world into nuclear winter.
So, if you consider a world with no TV, radio, telephones (fixed or mobile), computers, shop-tills, no planes,no ships, no radar, no air traffic control, where weapons of mass destruction were likely to go off without human intervention, and nuclear subs suddenly started spontaneously exploding while aged power stations lost all their regulatory barriers, you'll get an idea of the possibilities. Think of all the disasters they were warning about for the so called "Millennium Bug" in 2000, then imagine them all actually happening. Then imagine the earth shaking, hot ash falling on your head, a tidal wave approaching, and a migratory herd of Wildebeest turning up on your doorstep.
As for the UN....they'd pass a resolution against it, but it would happen anyway. But what else is new?