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Name: Lauri
Status: Other
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
With regards to magenetic pole reversals and Earth's magnetic field's loss of strength during the reversal, what will happen to the life on our planet? It is my understanding that the magnetic field is what protects us from solar flares and the sun's radiation. With the magnetic field in a 'weakened' state, how will our planet fend off such apocalyptic circumstances?



Replies:
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.

Richard E. Barrans Jr.
CHM/200/M019
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue
Argonne, IL 60439



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