Ancient Australian crystals unlock history of Earth’s first magnetic field

Tiny crystals in Australia are helping scientists unlock the ancient history of our planet’s first magnetic field, which disappeared hundreds of millions of years ago. And the crystals show that this field was a lot more powerful than anyone believed. That, in turn, could help answer a question about why life emerged on Earth.

Those tiny, old crystals are locked in rocks that date to well over half a billion years ago. At the time, tiny magnetic particles floated in the molten rock. But as that rock cooled, the particles, which aligned to the magnetic field orientation at the time, locked into place. And those particles still sit in a pose suggesting that they were influenced by a much more powerful magnetic field than scientists had assumed, a new study reveals.

Read more at:

• Our thanks to Stephen, G7VFY for spotting this item