Pole flips tied to plate tectonics

Lopsided arrangement of continents could lead to reversals in Earth's magnetic field

By Alexandra Witze, 13:32 PM September 23, 2011

Continents moving around over millions of years in the slow-motion geologic jigsaw puzzle known as plate tectonics could trigger the occasional swapping of the north and south magnetic poles.

Assumed to be caused by random fluctuations in the circulation of the molten iron core, the flips may actually be tied to what’s going on at Earth’s surface. At times in the geologic past when landmasses have bunched together on one side of the equator, the Earth’s magnetic field has begun flipping soo...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/pole-flips-tied-plate-tectonics?mode=magazine&context=4513