Outbursts in Earth’s magnetic field show frenetic changes

Iron Age artifacts over 3,000 years old discovered in Israel are helping scientists glimpse a period of increased geological activity generated by Earth’s core.

As the molten iron rotates, it generates a protective layer of particles to shield Earth from solar and interstellar radiation. The field remains under-researched over the last 100 years, according to study author Erez Ben-Yosef.

This extremely high field – more than 2.5 times the current field’s strength – indeed changes the way we understand the planet’s core and the mechanism that generates the field,” he said.

The recent findings also helped prove an active time period for the core, dubbed the Iron Age Spike.  Yosef helped publish the findings showing the field nearly tripled in strength during the time period.

Models of the inner earth are not yet adjusted to explain such observation(s),” Yosef said.

“Our study helps in contextualizing the recent drop in the field’s strength: it shows that this is not exceptional, as over the last millennia the field fluctuated, including even faster episodes of decreasing in field’s strength followed by recovery,” he added.

The Levantine jars from across Israel, Cyprus and Jordan unknowingly recorded these fluctuations, which ultimately help create space weather. The field is heated at its upper limits and interacts with the ionosphere.

The vast, comet-shaped bubble helps preserve life on our planet.

Yosef and his team continue to study Levantine magnetic field changes, and is actively excavating sites in Israel and Jordan. They hope to develop an advanced dating method for archaeological research in the Ancient Near East.

Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef is a senior lecturer in the J.M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and the Sonia and March Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University. He is also leading new excavations at the ancient copper mines of Timmna in southern Israel near the Gulf of Aqaba.

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