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A 3.7 billion-year-old magnetic field record gives clues about the formation of life on Earth

A 3.7 billion-year-old magnetic field record gives clues about the formation of life on Earth

Researchers from OxfordIn the United Kingdom, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), in the United States, found evidence that the magnetic field of Land It has been around for at least 3.7 billion years. The study requested data from green landIt may provide clues to the formation of life on Earth.

The magnetic field is one of the factors that made the planet habitable. This mechanism protects life radiation Harmful radiation coming from space helps keep the oceans and atmosphere stable for long periods of time.

Previous studies have shown that the age of the magnetic field is at least 3.5 billion years. Adding another 200,000 years to this date indicates that the magnetic field may have played a decisive role in making the Earth habitable, as this is the period that scientists calculate for the emergence of life.

Scientists suspect that the strength of the magnetic field billions of years ago enabled the creation of an atmosphere capable of supporting life and protecting the planet from solar radiation.


Scientists also concluded that Earth's magnetic field was as strong as today's magnetic field. The volume of the ancient Earth was 15 microtesla, but today it is 30 microtesla. The study was published this week in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.

According to one of the authors of the research, Claire Nicholls, although the power is half, it is still the same order of magnitude. “fact that (the magnetic field“) is similar in strength to what exists today, indicating that the Earth's magnetic field directed toward it has not changed significantly in strength for billions of years.”

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Today, the magnetic field is generated by a moving fluid in the planet's outer core, which is a liquid. This results in electrical currents capable of generating magnetic field lines.

The Earth's rotational motion also helps these lines stretch and twist. This mechanism extends around the planet like a protective bubble.

The findings also raise new questions about how the Earth in ancient times was able to form such a strong magnetic field. 3.7 billion years ago, the inner core, which powers the magnetic field, had not yet solidified. This suggests that there are other ways to create a magnetic field, including for other planets.

Read the full study on Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.