Earth’s magnetic fields help sustain life on our planet, but they can also be the engine of climate change and the reason why some species have become extinct.
This is the bold statement made in a scientific work published in the journal Science this week.
The article in the magazine claims that atmospheric changes more than 40,000 years ago had such a radical impact on the planet that they caused significant environmental damage and even extinction.
Protecting the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation, the planet’s magnetic fields play a vital role in saving life, but they differ in strength, with the magnetic poles sometimes even changing their position.
This phenomenon, critics from the newspaper̵
How did scientists come up with this theory?
The scientists behind the study studied the rings of cowrie trees, a species born in New Zealand that reach 1,000 years old and whose wood survives tens of thousands of years in swamps and wetlands, as the basis of their theory.
Using carbon dating techniques, they found that the trees they studied were over 40,000 years old, which would mean that they were growing during a time known as the Lashamp Excursion.
The latter is an event in which the Earth’s magnetic fields weaken significantly. Studies of wood samples have shown a jump in carbon-14 in tree rings, suggesting that the Earth has been exposed to high levels of cosmic particles and radiation from space.
The team estimates that these particles have contributed to the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer, which in turn has caused changes in global climate and environmental change.
Some critics are skeptical
Although critics suggest the study reveals some interesting avenues for investigation, they say researchers go too far with their conclusions.
In particular, the association of climate change with other events occurring at the same time, such as the disappearance of Neanderthals and the development of complex styles of cave painting.
As for the researchers, they claim that the early people took shelter in caves due to the increased radiation and used ocher, the main material used in cave painting, as the main sunscreen. However, others point out that they are known to have lived in caves and used the earth’s pigment for artistic purposes tens of thousands of years before the Lashamp Excursion.
Do magnetic fields contribute to drastic climate change in the world? Although the research published by Science has advantages, critics conclude, the jury seems to be outside the wider scientific community.
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