NASA issued a bulletin that reviews the worried inquires people have made relative to the Mayan Apocalypse. The “apocalypse” is that the Earth will end on 21 December 2012 when the Mayan 5125 year Long Count calendar ends. NASA said that a catastrophic celestial collision between Earth and the mythical planet Nibiru or a disastrous crash with a comet are not going to happen. Nibiru is supposed to be hiding behind the Sun. NASA says there is no planet hiding behind the Sun. NASA also: “… rejected apocalyptic theories about unusual alignments of the planets, or that the Earth’s magnetic poles could suddenly “flip.”
I am intrigued by the magnetic field flip. The North and South magnetic poles have flipped a number of times over the 5 billion year history of the Earth. But generally scientists concur that the most recent flip occurred some 800,000+ years ago. There are people that believe the magnetic poles have flipped much more recently. One author, Robert Felix says, for example, that 11,000 years ago as well as 23,000 and 33,500 years ago, the polarity flipped. He correlates these times with ice ages, eruptions of super volcanos and species mutations.
The legend on the chart to the right: Geomagnetic polarity during the late Cenozoic Era. Dark areas denote periods where the polarity matches today’s polarity, light areas denote periods where that polarity is reversed. (from Wikipedia–Click on chart to improve clarity)
The Earth generates a magnetic field as a result of a dynamo action. The convection of molten iron in the core generates a current which induces a magnetic field. This field is important to Earth. The field deflects much of the solar wind from the Sun. The aurora borealis can be seen when strong magnetic storms from the Sun encounter our magnetic field.
How do we know that the magnetic poles have flipped? The puzzle first was–why does volcanic rock sometimes have a polarity different from our current North South polarity? It appeared in rocks dating to certain periods which older or younger rocks had opposite polarity. By dating the rocks they placed the approximate time of the flip. How quickly does the flip take place? One source said they had seen a change in a matter of days. But most say it takes a very long time. And they do not think a flip will result in catastrophe in any event. But of course, no one was around 800,000 years ago, so you will just have to take your chances when it next happens,
The North magnetic pole is on the move right now. The picture by the Geological Survey Canada below shows the movement from 1831 to 2001. It was also noted that by 2009 the magnetic pole was moving toward Russian and a speed of 64km per year.
Try to locate a believer in the Mayan apocalypse, make a bet that the Earth will not come to an end on the 21st. Give that person odds if that will bring about a bet. On the 22nd you can collect. If it does end, the bet is deprived of any practical significance anyway.