Do these huts have the clue to Earth’s magnetic pole reversals?

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Patches of ground where huts were burned down in southern Africa contain a key mineral that recorded the magnetic field at the time of each ritual burning. Those mineral records teach researchers more about a weird, weak patch of Earth’s magnetic field called the South Atlantic Anomaly and point the way toward a possible mechanism for sudden reversals of the field. It may be the most dangerous place in the Earth’s sphere for satellites and spacecraft to traverse, because anything electronic traveling through it is vulnerable to strong radiation from space and tends to malfunction.

Ancient huts may reveal clues to Earth’s magnetic pole reversals | Fox News

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/07/28/ancient-huts-may-reveal-clues-to-earth-magnetic-pole-reversals/Grain bins much like these modern ones, photographed in southern Africa, were ritually burned down during Africa’s Iron Age. The scorched ground beneath them conserved rare clues about the Earth’s magnetic field. (John Tarduno/University of Rochester)

The fiery demise of ancient huts in southern Africa 1,000 years ago left clues to understanding a bizarre weak spot in the Earth’s magnetic field — and the role it plays in the magnetic poles’ periodic reversals.

Patches of ground where huts were burned down in southern Africa contain a key mineral that recorded the magnetic field at the time of each ritual burning. Those mineral records teach researchers more about a weird, weak patch of Earth’s magnetic field called the South Atlantic Anomaly and point the way toward a possible mechanism for sudden reversals of the field.

“It has long been thought reversals start at random locations, but our study suggests this may not be the case,” John Tarduno, a geophysicist from the University of Rochester in New York and lead author of the paper, said in a statement. [How Earth’s Magnetic Field Shielded Us from 2014 Solar Storm]

Tarduno told Space.com in an interview that data from the huts suggest that the strange weak patch “forms, and it decays away, and it forms, and it decays away; eventually, one might form and get really large, and then we might actually have a geomagnetic reversal.”

Read full story Ancient huts may reveal clues to Earth’s magnetic pole reversals | Fox News