back to article Academic showdown as boffins biff-baff over when Version 1.0 of Earth's magnetic core was released

A newly published study into the start date for the Earth's magnetic field has provoked claims of foul play among rival academics. In 2015, a group of researchers led by the US University of Rochester reckoned they found samples of zircon minerals lodged in rocks from Jack Hills, a region in Western Australia, that contained …

  1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge
    Happy

    I see

    So their basicly saying something they have never seen is greener than something else they have never seen. But it does keep them off the streets.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      That's

      flat Earth logic – "I haven't observed the Earth to be round so it must be flat".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's

        NOT MY BELIEF:

        To be fair, most people have observed the earth to be in some sense flat (with a far horizon and little imagination). They refuse to believe the evidence of others for one particular thing (presumably most are happy to believe the medicine and surgical operations they might receive are effective despite not having derived it themselves from first principles.

        "If I have stayed firmly on this flat earth, it is because I have refused to stand on the shoulders of giants"

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: That's

          Can I suggest that only people rooted to the land and not moving anywhere might have thought that? Say the same thing in Norway and they might lynch you!

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: That's

          "To be fair, most people have observed the earth to be in some sense flat (with a far horizon and little imagination)."

          Until you watch ships sail off over it (or reappear), and observe that if you walk up a nearby hill you can change the cutoff

          The greek thing about the wells and calculating circumferences was a school text, so it was clearly ancient knowledge even by then. I'm just surprised it took so long to switch to a heliocentric view

        3. Death Boffin
          Joke

          Re: That's

          If you don't believe that the earth is flat, you have never been to Kansas!

  2. cornetman Silver badge
    Stop

    "The Jack Hills zircons are some of the most weakly magnetic objects studied in the history of paleomagnetism," said Benjamin Weiss, co-author of the paper and a professor at MIT's Department of EAPS. "Furthermore, these zircons include the oldest known Earth materials, meaning that there are many geological events that could have reset their magnetic records."

    "This is evidence...."

    Wait. Your "doubt" is not evidence.

    That's pretty loose language for a scientist to be using.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Kinda. A paper showing their unreliability for a method of data collection in magnetic effects over longer periods of time would be much much more robust.

      It's really hard to say when we get down to the statistical and random events of history. Unlike the Higgs Boson detection, that may be infinitesimal in comparison to detecting the cupboard door you walked into, it is at least *repeatable*.

      Historical sciences claims, I always take with a grain of salt, as many wish to tell stories, and many forget, history is not repeatable!

  3. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Angel

    Hmm ...

    Was it not created on 23rd October 4004 BC at about nine in the morning, along with the rest of the Earth?

    1. Simon Reed

      Re: Hmm ...

      Not necessarily. It might be evidence planted there more recently by the Devil to try to mislead us and make us think the Holy Bible isn't an accurate record of actual events. Like when he buried all those dinosaur fossils.

      No, hang on, the dinosaurs died in the Flood. So there were dinosaurs.

      Now I'm confused again.

      I don't know how the scientists manage to keep up with the flexibility of the Holy Word.

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Hmm ...

        "Not necessarily. It might be evidence planted there more recently by the Devil to try to mislead us and make us think the Holy Bible isn't an accurate record of actual events. Like when he buried all those dinosaur fossils."

        The whole business with the fossilised dinosaur skeletons was a joke the palaeontologists haven't seen yet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm ...

          "End Nuclear Testing Now!"

          1. Robert Sneddon

            Re: Hmm ...

            Hey, TWO people read that book!

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hmm ...

        "Like when he buried all those dinosaur fossils."

        It's the one holding the sign saying "stop nuclear testing" that's been confusing people.

    2. Kane Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Hmm ...

      "Was it not created on 23rd October 4004 BC at about nine in the morning, along with the rest of the Earth?"

      Sunday, 21st October, 4004 BC, 8:45am, because God liked to get work done early in the morning while he was feeling fresh.

  4. steelpillow Silver badge
    Joke

    Long ago in, er, the very same galaxy...

    President of Zirconia: "What shall I do with these bloody things? They've managed to get weakly magnetized."

    Grand Vizier of Zirconia: "Chuck 'em out the garbage chute when we pass that planet that's coming up. That'll hoover 'em up and keep 'em out the star lanes for a few billion years."

    President; "Okey dokey. ... Done!"

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Jack Hills Zircons

    They are not worth Jack Shit in study of Earth's magnetic field says academic

  6. mr.K

    No opinion

    I have no opinion on this.

  7. PhilipN Silver badge

    Positive <> Negative

    How appropriate.

  8. Denarius Silver badge

    And there was I

    thinking the evidence for a Hadean period was shrinking. Earliest ( by whose measurement I dont know) suggests a cool wet world shown by old zircons. Even New Scientist published article on Hadean period belief becoming harder to sustain. Given the things that happen to rocks, assuming anything like water, pressure, temperature and enhanced radiation events seems to be guessing rather than empirical science. NOTE: tests have shown decay rates do vary under pressure and ionisation far more than expected. Bring back Poppers rule on what is science.

  9. William Higinbotham

    Asteroids can have magnetism

    Even asteroids can have magnetism. The gravitational perturbation of Mathilde on the passing spacecraft was apparent.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Asteroids can have magnetism

      Magnetism and gravitation are two very different forces!

  10. AlgernonFlowers4
    Mushroom

    Unobtainium

    Shouldn’t they be looking for Unobtainium? A ship made of Zircon would have melted long before it got to the centre of the Earth and they wouldn’t have been able to start The Core spinning in the first place to generate the magnetic field!

  11. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Definitions!!!!

    Define when that cluster of mutually orbiting asteroids finally coalesced to become "Earth". THAT is the moment that Earths magnetic was formed, as without an Earth there cannot be an "Earths Magnetic Field". Chances are you can't define that moment since the formation of Earth happened gradually over a looooooong period of time. So these petty children are arguing over who can provide the earliest EVIDENCE of Earths magnetic field. Who cares? Anyone with a microgram of common sense knows that Earth had a magnetic field even before it coalesced into a proto-planet.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Definitions!!!!

      "Define when that cluster of mutually orbiting asteroids finally coalesced to become "Earth". THAT is the moment that Earths magnetic was formed, as without an Earth there cannot be an "Earths Magnetic Field""

      Errr, wut now? You do understand how the Earths' magnetic field is generated, don't you?

  12. dvhamme

    Do we really need a paper for this?

    The Rochester researchers started from ~3700 tiny samples, then whittled them down until they had 3 that showed something they wanted to see. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Do we really need a paper for this?

      I expected a comment making that point long before now, since it seems to be a major confounding factor.

    2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: Do we really need a paper for this?

      If found one rock among thousands that looked remarkable like a tooled arrow head that would still be evidence of human presence. The other thousands of random rocks are irrelevant.

      The question is how do you explain the measured qualities of the 3 sample they did find?

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Do we really need a paper for this?

        "The question is how do you explain the measured qualities of the 3 sample they did find?"

        ALIENS - of course

        In a spaceship that looks remarkably like a blue telephone box.

  13. JCitizen Bronze badge
    Pint

    One question....er...maybe three?

    Okay --- why have Venus and Mars obviously lost their magnetic fields long ago - probably longer ago than these recent guesses by geologists..? How old is the lunar soil? I thought this was already answered because of those three points. The Earth was completely reformed at the time period that is agreed on by geologists - however a giant collision reset the clock. The whole Earth Moon system was a giant blob of bubbling lava, the oceans just converted to steam like the atmosphere of Venus is now. If fact we would probably look just like Venus now, if some extraordinary realities were not present at that time.

    If you change one factor just a little bit, it could be that water is the answer - maybe Earth had just that much more of it, and the collision was too slow to blow it all off, and so it enveloped the Earth Moon system in a black cloud until the lack of Sunlight froze the magma bubble into a sphere. Then by pure chaos, the water condensed from this frozen core and once again covered the earth - the moon however cooled too soon, even though it was every close to the Earth, and lost all its water by the Earth's gravitational pull, and the lack of a Van Allen belt. Its my theory and I'm sticking to it. The Bible arguments are so silly, when even a Christian knows they are just parables and nothing else - it wasn't necessary for God to explain himself, He is the Creator after all, He doesn't have to explain anything. I think I'll have a celebration tomorrow and have a pint to the Great One!

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: One question....er...maybe three?

      "I think I'll have a celebration tomorrow and have a pint to the Great One!"

      Some of us prefer Great Old Ones

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020