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The magnetic poles of the earth have switched places many times in the history of the earth. This is revealed by studies of lava flows that has recorded the prehistoric magnetic field. Recently, the so far most detailed recording of such a pole flipping have been discovered in lava flows from west Greenland.

The magnetic field of the earth is changing fast these days. It, among others, is observed by the Danish Ørstedsatellite. In light of this, the scientists are wondering if the magnetic south- and north poles are about to change places. The magnetic field of the earth is very important to life on earth, since it protects our planet from particle radiation from space, and many animals uses the magnetic field for navigation. Therefore one could imagine that such a pole flip would have consequences for life on earth.

However, it is still uncertain what concrete effects a pole flipping will have for our life on earth. And neither do we know for sure why the poles flip occasionally. That the poles actually have exchange place a great number of times in the lifetime of the earth – most recently 780,000 years ago – we know in return for certain because of the fossil magnetization which is hidden in the hardened lava.