Could the poles — the magnetic poles (as opposed to the geographic ones) — someday shift?
Absolutely. It has happened in the past. In fact, magnetic north and south are in constant flux. Magnetically speaking, the “north pole” is currently wandering across the Arctic Sea toward Siberia. It’s moving about forty miles per year.
Some believe the earth’s magnetic field affects the inflow of cosmic rays that determine cloud density and this influence weather and even climate. (Could it be responsible, to some degree, for global warming?)
The Farmer’s Almanac — keen as it is on predicting weather — scoffs at the idea. “Despite many rumors to the contrary spread on conspiracy-theory sites — including those that predict doomsday scenarios if our magnetic poles were to reverse, as they have in the prehistoric past — the earth’s magnetic poles induce little to no effect on the movement of large-scale weather systems,” it claims.
This is far different — and to most minds, infinitetly less cataclysmic — than if the axis of the earth were to be significantly altered.
That would mean the planet itself wobbling, if not outright shaking, as earth physically and not just magnetically changes.
The famous Fatima seer, Lucia dos Santos, said that in 1944 upon further prayer imploring Heaven to elucidate upon the “third secret,” she received “an additional enlightenment” on the secret whereby that angel touches the earth with a flaming sword.
“The tip of the spear as a flame unlatches and touches the axis of the earth,” she said. “It shudders. Mountains, cities, towns, and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, the rivers, and the clouds emerge from their limits, overflowing and bringing with them in a whirlwind houses and people in numbers that are not possible to count. It is the purification of the world as it plunges into sin.”
Once more, that’s the axis. Back to magnetic pole shifts. Most believe a “flip” would not be very consequential. But not everyone.
ONE DAY in 1905, the French geophysicist Bernard Brunhes brought back to his lab some rocks he’d unearthed from a freshly cut road near the village of Pont Farin. When he analyzed their magnetic properties, he was astonished at what they showed: Millions of years ago, the earth’s magnetic poles had been on the opposite sides of the planet. North was south and south was north. The discovery spoke of planetary anarchy. Scientists had no way to explain it. Today, we know that the poles have changed places hundreds of times, most recently 780,000 years ago. (Sometimes, the poles try to reverse positions but then snap back into place, in what is called an excursion. The last time was about 40,000 years ago.) We also know that when they flip next time, the consequences for the electrical and electronic infrastructure that runs modern civilization will be dire. The question is when that will happen.
In the past few decades, geophysicists have tried to answer that question through satellite imagery and math. They have figured out how to peer deep inside the earth, to the edge of the molten, metallic core where the magnetic field is continually being generated. It turns out that the dipole — the orderly two-pole magnetic field our compasses respond to — is under attack from within.