Mystery anomaly weakens Earth's magnetic field, report scientists
A strange weakness in the Earth's protective magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.
- "The South Atlantic Anomaly" in the Earth's magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.
- The information was gathered by the ESA's Swarm Constellation mission satellites.
- The changes may indicate the coming reversal of the North and South Poles.
A portion of the Earth's magnetic field, known as the "South Atlantic Anomaly," is weakening and may be headed for a split, shows new data. The strange phenomenon is also triggering technical problems in Earth-orbiting satellites.
Our planet's magnetic field is an important part of the defenses that protect us from cosmic radiation and charged particles streaming from the Sun. The field is also the reason compasses and GPS work. It's generated by the ocean of liquid iron in the planet's outer core, about 1800 miles below our feet. The iron acts like "a spinning conductor in a bicycle dynamo," explains the press release from the European Space Agency (ESA), which carried out the research. The iron's flow spawns electrical currents that then generate the planet's ever-changing electromagnetic field. The liquid iron core behaves like a giant magnet, causing the existence of the North and South poles.
The scientists were able to establish that the entire magnetic field of the planet has diminished by 9 percent in its strength during the past 200 years. The "South Atlantic Anomaly" segment, which stretches from Africa to South America, is of particular concern. Satellites from ESA's Swarm Constellation mission, that looked into the anomaly detected a strong weakening southwest of Africa, which points to the possibility that the area would break into two different low points.
While the observed changes don't necessarily mean the Sun is about to fry our planet or some similar calamity, it does indicate that something is happening within the Earth's core. This is what the agency is hoping to figure out through further research. One possibility – the north and south poles are about to switch positions, with the South Atlantic Anomaly being the origin of the transformation (which happens every 250,000 years or so).
South Atlantic Anomaly impact radiation. Credit: ESA
Jürgen Matzka, a researcher into geomagnetism at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, explained in a statement that the new weak spot "has appeared over the last decade and in recent years is developing vigorously." He added that we're fortunate to have the Swarm satellites studying the issue, while "the challenge now is to understand the processes in Earth's core driving these changes."
The weakness of the magnetic field has occasionally caused the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit satellites to experience communication and computer issues.
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Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.
- The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
- The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
- Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
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A 2020 study published in the journal of Psychological Science explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- In 2019, researchers at Stanford Engineering analyzed the spread of fake news as if it were a strain of Ebola. They adapted a model for understanding diseases that can infect a person more than once to better understand how fake news spreads and gains traction.
- A new study published in 2020 explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- "These findings demonstrate one situation in which misinformation reminders can diminish the negative effects of fake-news exposure in the short term," researchers on the project explained.
Previous studies on misinformation have already paved the way to a better understanding<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU1NzQ4NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjE2Mjg1Nn0.hs_xHktN1KXUDVoWpHIVBI2sMJy6aRK6tvBVFkqmYjk/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C800%2C0%2C823&height=700" id="fc135" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="246bb1920c0f40ccb15e123914de1ab1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="fake news concept of misinformation and fake news in the media" />
How does misinformation spread?
Credit: Visual Generation on Shutterstock<p><strong>What is the "continued-influence" effect?</strong></p><p>A challenge in using corrections effectively is that repeating the misinformation can have negative consequences. Research on this effect (referred to as "continued-influence") has shown that information presented as factual that is later deemed false can still contaminate memory and reasoning. The persistence of the continued-influence effect has led researchers to generally recommend avoiding repeating misinformation. </p><p>"Repetition increases familiarity and believability of misinformation," <a href="https://engineering.stanford.edu/magazine/article/how-fake-news-spreads-real-virus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the study explains</a>.</p><p><strong>What is the "familiarity-backfire" effect?</strong></p><p>Studies of this effect have shown that increasing misinformation familiarity through extra exposure to it leads to misattributions of fluency when the context of said information cannot be recalled. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797620952797#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2017 study</a> examined this effect in myth correction. Subjects rated beliefs in facts and myths of unclear veracity. Then, the facts were affirmed and myths corrected and subjects again made belief ratings. The results suggested a role for familiarity but the myth beliefs remained below pre-manipulation levels. </p>