The Earth’s magnetic field, created by the big chunk of iron spinning at the planet’s very center, occasionally flips north and south. This does not necessarily mean that the planet will suddenly flip “upside down”, but it does mean that when it happens whatever is living on the surface will be exposed to a great deal of solar radiation it is not used to dealing with. According to this NOVA documentary, such a shift is 530,000 years overdue… and data suggests that it may have been in progress for at least a thousand years. The British Geological Survey suggests that the poles are currently shifting East. For more information, look here.
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