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Earth science

Geomagnetic reversals

Earth's magnetic field is unstable. Not only does it vary in intensity, but from time to time it flips, with the poles reversing sign. Much of this behaviour remains a mystery, but a combination of geomagnetic observations with theoretical studies has been providing enlightenment.

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Figure 1: Earth's magnetic field.
Figure 2: Magnetic field at the surface of Earth's core.
Figure 3: Magnetic stripes on the ocean floor.
Figure 4: Reversal timescale.
Figure 5: Excursions.
Figure 6: Computer models of Earth's dynamo.

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Gubbins, D. Geomagnetic reversals. Nature 452, 165–167 (2008).

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