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What would happen if the Earth's poles flipped over? © iStock

What would happen if the Earth's poles flipped over?

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The Earth's magnetic poles can, and do, undergo complete reversals - but what does this mean for us?

Asked by: Ken Hills, Brighton

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Fortunately, short of being hit by some vast celestial body, the Earth can't flip over, as the Moon's gravity field keeps our planet on a fairly even keel. But the magnetic poles can, and do, undergo complete reversals, most recently around 780,000 years ago. The weakening of the magnetic field as it undergoes a complete flip would make the Earth more vulnerable to the effects of solar radiation, which have the power to disrupt powerlines and telecommunications.


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Authors

Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.

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