Mathematically Modelling Earth’s Magnetic Pole Reversals
The Earth has an intrinsic magnetic field, which is generated by the spinning of the iron core and creates a magnetic North and South pole. As observed through changing in the magnetic orientation of rocks on Earth’s spreading sea floor, the Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed multiple times throughout history. The time between each complete geomagnetic pole reversal is estimated to span anywhere between ten thousand and ten million years, suggesting that the process is complex and seemingly stochastic. Understanding when and why this phenomenon occurs is crucial since the reversal process causes significant weakening of the field leaving the Earth susceptible to harm from solar radiation. While the total effect on human society is not entirely clear, a reversal in field would impact other animals, interfering with their migration patterns. In an attempt to understand the underlying mechanisms of geomagnetic pole reversals and to predict their occurrence, various mathematical models have been developed. Of note, the Rikitake model investigates the mathematical and physical connection between electromagnetic systems known as coupled dynamo disks, and Earth’s own dynamic magnetic system. In addition to the Rikitake model, variations of Poisson distributions and statistical models have been investigated. Through literature analysis and our own implementation of the Rikitake model, we hope to further understand the connection between electromagnetic processes and geophysical processes.