Explaining the origin of earth’s magnetism, discuss its significance with special reference to its interaction with solar particles.

Geomagnetism refers to the property of earth acting as a magnet, with periodic reversal in the direction of polarisation.

Origin of magnetism:

  • Metallic elements like nickel and iron are present in the core of the earth in molten form. There is a continuous movement of this molten material.
  • Due to the very high temperature and pressure inside the core, the material present is in the form of plasma, i.e, in charged ionic form.
  • The charged molten metals are in continuous motion. When the charge is in motion, it creates current, so there is a huge current flowing inside the core of the earth.
  • Whenever there is a current, a magnetic field is created around it. Thus this creates a magnetic field around the earth.

Significance of Magnetism:

  • Act as a shield against solar flares. High-energy charged particles are ejected from the sun’s surface which can harm life as well as electrical and electronic equipment on earth. Earth’s magnetic field interacts with the solar winds and hence protects the earth.
  • Seafloor study: Materials found along mid-oceanic ridges show alternate bands of reverse polarity. It helps to understand seafloor spreading at ridges and submergence at crests.
  • Magnetism also influences the presence of minerals in the earth’s crust.

Thus the phenomenon of geo-magnetism has wide implications for human life.

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