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Reversal of Earth's magnetic poles may have triggered Neanderthal extinction -- and it could happen again

February 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.6%. 1 min read.

NORWAY - 2020/02/28: An aurora sometimes referred to as polar lights, northern lights (aurora borealis) is produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form of electrons and protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere here near the city of Tromso, Troms og Finnmark county, Norway. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The reversal of Earth's magnetic poles and the temporary breakdown of the world's magnetic field some 42,000 years ago, could have triggered solar storms, many environmental changes and the extinction of the Neanderthals, according to a new study.

(CNN)The reversal of Earth's magnetic poles, along with a temporary breakdown of the world's magnetic field about 42,000 years ago, could have triggered a raft of environmental changes, solar storms and the extinction of the Neanderthals, according to a new study.

"Using the ancient trees we could measure, and date, the spike in atmospheric radiocarbon levels caused by the collapse of Earth's magnetic field," Chris Turney, a professor at UNSW Science, director of the university's Earth and Sustainability Science Research Center and co-lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Researchers found that the reversal led to "pronounced climate change. " Their modeling showed that ice sheet and glacier growth in North America and shifts in major wind belts and tropical storm systems could be traced back to the period of the magnetic pole switch, which scientists named the "Adams Event. "

"This speed -- alongside the weakening of Earth's magnetic field by around nine per cent in the past 170 years -- could indicate an upcoming reversal," said Cooper.

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