February 17, 2017

NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT HERE. NOTHING AT ALL: Astonishing geomagnetic spike hit the ancient kingdom of Judah: If this were to happen again today, the electrical grid could be a smoking ruin.

By analyzing the orientations of the metals in a set of these jar handles with dates from 750 to 150 BCE, the scientists were able to see traces of the geomagnetic field’s behavior. What they found was startling. Sometime late in the 8th century BCE, there was a rapid fluctuation in the field’s intensity over a period of about 30 years—first the intensity increased to over 20 percent of baseline, then plunged to 27 percent under baseline. Though the overall trend at that time was a gradual decline in the fields’ intensity similar to what we see today, this spike was basically off the charts.

Writing in The New Yorker, Lawrence University geologist Marcia Bjornerud points out that this geomagnetic spike is far bigger than anything geoscientists had believed possible. “Both the height and the sharpness of the spike they recount push up against the limits of what some geophysicists think Earth’s outer core is capable of doing,” she explains. “If the eighth-century-BC geomagnetic jeté is real, models for the generation of the magnetic field need significant revision.”

The researchers note that this geomagnetic spike is similar to another that occurred in the 10th century BCE. Data from the 10th century spike and this 8th century one indicate that such events were probably localized, not global. That said, they write that “the exact geographic expanse of this phenomenon has yet to be investigated, and the fact that these are very short-lived features that can be easily missed suggests that there is much more to discover.” They compare the scope of these spikes to the South Atlantic Anomaly, a region where the planet’s Van Allen radiation belt dips down near the surface of the planet, trapping radioactive particles and causing problems for satellites cruising nearby.

Ancient peoples like those in Judah would not have been troubled by a localized geomagnetic field spike, but people in the same region today would call it a disaster.

Yes, this sort of thing could be a common occurrence, and unless it happened in the last 150 years or so no one would notice.