Emergency – Earth’s Magnetic Pole Racing Towards Russia – do you know where you are? #geology #earth #earthscience

Map showing North Pole movement over timeThe World Magnetic Model supports navigation from ships and airlines to your cell phones. It’s gotten out of sync with our planet, thanks to the North Pole’s gentle drift turning into a gallop.

We know the magnetic poles move with respect to the Earth’s surface…

Yet in recent years, scientists noticed something unusual: Magnetic north’s routine plod has shifted into high gear, sending it galloping across the Northern Hemisphere—and no one can entirely explain why… Curiously, its polar opposite, magnetic south, has moved little during this time. NatGeo

The US government has finally issued an updated model, so we can all know where we are again.

North Pole on a map from 1539

Map from 1539 shows the North Pole as an “island of magnets”

The current movement isn’t the oddest thing the North Pole does. Magnetic north and south trade places every 200,000 to 300,000 years, so if the planet were on a schedule (and it’s not) I’d say we’re overdue.

That doesn’t mean doomsday is coming. The flip seems to be more of a polar meander. Migrating wildlife should have time to adjust. We may see a rise in cosmic radiation, but Earth’s magnetic field varies all the time and we’re still here, so that shouldn’t be too big a deal.

The magnetosphere is generated by Earth’s liquid core, and so far, we can’t dig deep enough to impact that. This is one planetary factor beyond human control. We’re just here for the ride.


Slow Motion Armageddon Devastated Forgotten Land #geology #island #poems #amwriting #poetry

A few of the remnants

A few of the remnants

Madagascar once lay close
By India to its west,
Islands mark the continent
Where dinosaurs did rest.

Volcanic islands that we see,
Laccadive and Cargados,
Etch the backbone of lost land
With Tromelin and Chagos.

This piece of ancient continent
Was stretched by plate tectonics,
Became an ocean scattered with
Remnants for mnemonics.

by Kate Rauner

Thanks to archaeology.wiki and newscientist.com. Learn more about plate tectonics

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Receive an occasional book offer and a piece of my flash fiction at http://eepurl.com/bCpx1v

Fifty Million Years Play Out on Earth #geology #science #earthquake #poem #poetry #nature

Tectonic plate movement today

Tectonic plate movement today

Earth’s history runs deep,
‘Neath hundreds of miles where
Seismic waves flow through the rock
Like light waves through the air.

Ancient surface plates
That sunk beneath the crust
Last saw the sun when dinosaurs
Lay dead in ash and dust.

Subducted shallow seas
Converged and disappeared,
That’s what captured earthquake waves
Now show
From fifty million years

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to livescience.com and National Taiwan University geologists for their study of the deep Earth’s East Asian Sea Plate at the Philippine Sea.

R&R 3 coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

#EarthquakeNews :( Yields #Poetry

earthquake ElSalvadorslide

Earthquake landslide in El Salvador, 2001

#Earthquake – a poem by Kate Rauner

Earth neither knows nor cares
For the skin of life upon her face,
The biosphere where we cling
On a planet orbiting in space.

For gold within three miles reach,
Barely do we scratch her skin,
Geothermal heat can kill
Here, as we tunnel in.

One hundred fifty miles down,
In upper layers of the crust,
Far beneath the Hindu Kush,
A shrug, a shift, an upward thrust.

And then we die.

Our structures fall,
Despite our skills,
Fail despite our efforts best,
Despite our hopes, despite our will.

Sometimes we curse,
Sometimes we bless,
But always we persist,
We strive, we learn,
And we progress.
Find meaning in life’s gift.

Earthquakes, like the latest in Afghanistan, are common. They can range from a bump to disaster. It’s all part of living on Earth. Learn more:




Plate Tectonics, Life, and Luck

Opabinia from the Burgess Shale

Opabinia from the Burgess Shale

The Earth formed four and a half billion years ago and after a billion years of cooling the crust solidified and life appeared. Earth has been inhabited for most of its existence, but only five hundred million years ago does anything more complex than microbial mats and cyanobacteria appear in the fossil record. Then all the basic body plans that exist today evolved so quickly (in a geological sense of time) that the era is called the Cambrian Explosion. After three billion years of stasis, what changed?

Maybe the earth moved.

Repeatedly, the continents on Earth have clustered together into a single supercontinent, leaving a single superocean. Once again, about five hundred million years ago, tectonic forces broke a huge slab of continent off, creating a shallow ocean in warm equatorial latitudes while dredging up nutrients from deeper waters. The continents have merged and broken apart cyclically over geologic time, but this event was a perfect evolutionary opportunity. Life exploded in an orgy of multicellular diversity.

It’s the sort of unlikely situation that leads to thoughts that, even if life is common in the galaxy, complex life and especially intelligent life may be vanishingly rare. But plate tectonics seem to be related to planetary mass, so any rocky planet Earth-sized or larger may offer life the same chance. Just add water.

Read about the study by Ian Dalziel of the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, published in the November issue of the journal Geology.