An idea that was once fodder for online conspiracy theorists and doomsday preppers now has mainstream science issuing an urgent warning.
There are plenty of schlocky television programs out there about the ways in which our world could come to an end. Global nuclear war, asteroid strike, global pandemic; you name it, it’s out there as a possibility.
But one of these ideas, a shift of the earth’s magnetic poles, was once presented to sly smiles and the occasional chuckle.
As it turns out, this wasn’t all that far-fetched to begin with.
Earth’s magnetic field is getting significantly weaker, the magnetic north pole is shifting at an accelerating pace, and scientists readily admit that a sudden pole shift could potentially cause “trillions of dollars” in damage. Today, most of us take the protection provided by Earth’s magnetic field completely for granted. It is essentially a colossal force field which surrounds our planet and makes life possible. And even with such protection, a giant solar storm could still potentially hit our planet and completely fry our power grid. But as our magnetic field continues to get weaker and weaker, even much smaller solar storms will have the potential to be cataclysmic. And once the magnetic field gets weak enough, we will be facing much bigger problems.
Science has identified a number of terrifying possibilities that could coincide with the weakening of the magnetic field, including a possible pole shift event. It was believed until recently that such a shift could take centuries or millennia to occur, but there are renewed doubts about that theory as well.
Of course most scientists believe that a pole flip takes hundreds or thousands of years to happen, but they don’t actually know because they have never seen one take place.Advertisement - story continues below
They also believe that we would potentially be facing “trillions of dollars in damage”to our power grid and electrical infrastructure because the magnetic field would be so weak during a flip…
Storms far less powerful than these could cause much more damage if they happened to hit while Earth’s magnetic field was in the midst of a reversal, Roberts said. The result would likely be trillions of dollars in damage to our electrical infrastructure, and right now, there’s no plan for dealing with an event of that magnitude.
“Hopefully, such an event is a long way in the future and we can develop future technologies to avoid huge damage,” Roberts concluded. Keep your fingers (but not your magnetic-field lines) crossed.
We’re not saying that now is a good time to stock up on canned goods…at least not yet.