Schematic illustration of the invisible magnetic field lines generated by the Earth, represented as a dipole magnet field. In actuality, our magnetic shield is squeezed in closer to Earth on the Sun-facing side and extremely elongated on the night-side due to the solar wind.

Earth's polarity is not a constant. Unlike a classic bar magnet, the matter governing Earth's magnetic field moves around. Geophysicists are pretty sure that the reason Earth has a magnetic field is because its solid iron core is surrounded by a fluid ocean of hot, liquid metal. The flow of liquid iron in Earth's core creates electric currents, which in turn creates the magnetic field. Credit: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh

Earth’s magnetic poles may be poised to flip

Article by Phil Livermore, Associate Professor of geophysics, University of Leeds and Jon Mound, Associate Professor of Geophysics, University of Leeds The Earth’s magnetic field surrounds our planet like an invisible force field – protecting life from harmful solar radiation by deflecting charged particles away. Far from being constant, this field is continuously changing. Indeed, our…

This image shows planets (composite).
Composite image by Arie Wilson Passwaters/Rice University

Lush Venus? Searing Earth? It could have happened

Rice University scientists propose that life in the solar system could have been very different If conditions had been just a little different an eon ago, there might be plentiful life on Venus and none on Earth. The idea isn’t so far-fetched, according to a hypothesis by Rice University scientists and their colleagues who published…

A cross-section of the earth with the field lines of the geomagnetic field (as simulated with the Glatzmaier-Roberts geodynamo model

Ironing out the mystery of Earth’s magnetic field

Scientists directly measure thermal conductivity of iron at planetary core conditions for the first time The earth’s magnetic field has been existing for at least 3.4 billion years thanks to the low heat conduction capability of iron in the planet’s core. This is the result of the first direct measurement of the thermal conductivity of…


New Earthquake Early Warning System to be Deployed by USGS

USGS Awards $4 Million to Support Earthquake Early Warning System in California and Pacific Northwest RESTON, Va.— The U.S. Geological Survey has awarded approximately $4 million this week to four universities – California Institute of Technology, University of California, Berkeley, University of Washington and University of Oregon – to support transitioning the “ShakeAlert” earthquake early warning…