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A Day Without Geomagnetism

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 01:15 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.5 
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Imagine, what would have happened, if there had not been earth’s magnetic field. Ships could not have sailed through the oceans, airplanes could not have reached their destinations, birds could not have migrated to new lands and sea animals could not have navigated through long distances. If there had not been geomagnetism, harmful high-energy radiations/protons from the sun could have reached the earth to destroy life. Earth\'s magnetosphere would have turned off and eventually the solar wind could have blown the atmosphere away.

A day without earth’s magnetic field would be a day of extinction, perhaps mass extinction for many species.

Magnetic Navigation By Birds, Animals and Sea Creatures:

One of the first concrete signs that animals can tap into the magnetic field was observed, as in many great discoveries in science, by chance. It was the fall of 1957, and Hans Fromme, a researcher at the Frankfurt Zoological Institute in Germany, noticed that several European robins he kept in a cage were becoming restless and were fluttering up into the southwestern part of the cage. There was nothing unusual about it, it was known that migrating birds in cages become edgy at that time of year, and European robins in Germany migrate southwestwards to Spain to over winter. What made it striking was that the birds were in a shuttered room. They could see neither visual landmarks, nor their fellow, non-captive robins, nor the sun or stars, which were known to serve them as navigational aids. Clearly they were acting on something invisible, and Fromme deduced it must be the Earth\'s magnetic field.

Careful tests with homing pigeons and other birds displaying the ability to judge direction show that the birds are affected by changing magnetic fields. If birds are released at places where the earth\'s magnetic field is anomalously strong, their homing ability is entirely disrupted. Magnetic storms do the same.



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