An ancient tree in New Zealand has been found as evidence for the reversal of the magnetic field of the Earth. The tree was discovered during an uncovering of the land for the expansion of a geothermal power plant located in the North Island of New Zealand. The tree is known as the Agathis Australis tree or the Kauri tree in Māori.
The tree is buried 26 feet in land and is about 65 feet in height. The diameter of this tree is about eight feet. This tree had been alive between 41,000 and 42,500 years ago. Carbon dating revealed the age of the tree as 1,500 years.
“There’s nothing like this anywhere in the world,” Alan Hogg, from the University of Waikato in New Zealand said. “This Ngāwhā kauri is unique.”
The tree had been alive when the Earth’s magnetic field reversed. The Earth’s magnetic north and south did not quite end a total reversal as they went on an excursion.
The iron present in the core of the planet is believed to produce as a result of the magnetic field. The movements of our Earth generates electric currents that extend long distances into space. The magnetic field is the barrier which protects the Earth from the solar winds. Solar winds are streams of charged particles which come from the sun. These solar winds have the potential to strip away the ozone layer too.
A reverse in the magnetic field could cause more radiation from the Sun. The scientists also have linked extinction events to the reversals of the magnetic field earlier.
This is the only time that such an ancient tree was found. A tree which existed at the time of reversal. The rings of the kauri tree are perfect evidence for the near reversal. “It’s the time it takes for this movement to occur that is the critical thing. We will map these changes much more accurately using the tree rings,” Hogg stated.
This specific tree unearthed during the expansion of the Ngāwhā Generation geothermal power plant. NELSON PARKER
An expert in paleoclimatology and climate change from the University of New South Wales, Chris Turney is the leading member of the group of scientists who analyze the samples taken from the tree. Studying the changes in the tree during the reversal of the magnetic field would be helpful in case it happens again. “We will have increased cosmic radiation. It will take out satellites and it might take out other communication infrastructure,” said Hogg.
Turney explained: “The precious thing is this huge, lonely tree grew for some 1700 years across a remarkable period in our planet’s history when the Earth’s magnetic field flipped some 42,000 years ago, a period known as the Laschamp Excursion. Funded by the Australian Research Council we’re undertaking detailed measurements of the radioactive form of carbon through the tree rings.”
Apart from the fact that in the last 20 million years, it seems as if the reversal of the magnetic fields take place once every 200,000 to 300,000 years (as per NASA). This type of a reversal could take place in random instances. However, the most recent one happened about 780,000 years ago.
Perhaps you’d remember the scientists’ statements saying about the unexpected shift of the magnetic north pole. Usually, in the past the scientists have used the tracking steadily from the Canadian Arctic to Siberia. But the shift has resulted in renewal of the World Magnetic Model (WMM) too. The WMM is a representation of the magnetic field of the Earth and it’s used by the GPS systems worldwide.
“Because the Earth’s magnetic field has a major effect on how much radiocarbon carbon is formed in the upper atmosphere, these precious analyses will allow us to investigate the magnitude and rate of change when the magnetic field reversed during the Laschamp; something not possible before and of great interest given recent changes in the Earth’s magnetic field,” Turney stated.