Theories concerning geomagnetic reversals have been circulating every media outlet playing to 2012 worriers and wonder-ers possible over the past few years. The name itself can be off-putting, but simply stated, a geomagnetic reversal is just that: the change of orientation (reversal) in Earth's magnetic field (geomagnetic) in regards to the magnetic north and south poles. I'm sure those of you either studying or worrying about Y2012 have wondered if we would or even could undergo a geomagnetic reversal during that time and if that reversal would cause the catastrophes the media has foretold (see the movie, 2012).
In short, the answer is no. The longer version, however, gets a bit more complex. Reversals traditionally happen every 300,000 years or so. We are now considered overdue since the last reversal was close to 780,000 years ago and is often referred to as the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. It is not known exactly how long the reversal took, but geologists estimate the reversal took between 1,200 and 10,000 years to complete the process.
Regardless of when, it is imperative that our focus remains on the "how" when trying to negate Doomsayers. These are the people who use a base of fact to allow their own far-fetched ideas to gather power through fear, and thus validation. In regards to geomagnetic reversal as a theory to cause the devastating results we have come to expect from the Media's 2012, the loudest voice of doom come from Patrick Geryl.
Patrick Geryl believes that a Geomagnetic Reversal is directly linked to a Rotational Pole Shift. Earth's magnetic field is formed by electrical currents that are generated by motions within the fluid outer core(1). Note that it's the liquid outer core not the solid inner core that produces magnetism. Geryl seems to think that magnetism is generated at the solid inner core.
According to Geryl, these geomagnetic reversals happen like clock-work. The last being 11,803 years ago and for Braden it was about 13,000 years ago. (3) This is obviously not the case since the last reversal was known to have happened closer to 800,000 years ago then 12,000. In addition, they are hardly cyclical as the doomsayers would like you to think.
Gregg Braden writes in his books that the "falling magnetic field" is directly linked to our consciousness. When the magnetic field is weaker, we are much more vulnerable to be "changed."(2) Both Braden and Geryl theorize that these reversals are much more common than mainstream science acknowledges.
The difference between Braden and Geryl is obvious. Geryl predicts complete and utter devastation and death. Braden's theory does not advocate the selling of fear. In the end, you do not need to fear Geomagnetic Reversals. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that they cause harm to life on Earth. There is also no reason to believe that the reversal will take place in our lifetimes. These reversals take time. When a geologist states that a magnetic reversal happens rapidly, you need to realize what rapidly means to a geologist. Thousands, tens of thousand, hundreds of thousands and even millions of years can mean rapidly for a geologist. Other than having to re-orient compasses and navigational devices, life will not be affected by a reversal.
(1) Rothery, D. (2008) Teach Yourself: Geology. London: The McGraw-Hills Company, Inc.
(2) Aveni, A.(2009)The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.
(3) Stray. G.(2009) Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Awakening. Rochester: Bear & Company.