Tuesday, 11 January 2011
The sudden death of thousands of blackbirds in Arkansas over the 2010-2011 New Year's holiday last weekend was newsworthy enough. Within a couple of days, hundreds of stories from all around the globe recounted similar phenomena. Not only have blackbirds been "falling out of the sky," but many species of birds,as well as reported cases of bat deaths in Arizona. In addition, there are numerous reports being gathered from around the world about massive fish die-off, and die-off of many different sea animals. What could be causing these deaths? Some researchers believe that changes in the Earth's magnetic fields are to blame.
The Earth's Magnetic Fields: What They Are and How Birds Use Them to Migrate
The Earth's magnetic field is similar to that of a bar magnet, with north and south poles.The magnetic field causes a bubble around the Earth which protects it from solar winds, asteroids, and other objects in space. Scientists believe the magnetic poles are due to electric currents that come from the Earth's core.The circulating electric current creates a dynamo effect, which is caused, in part, by the rotation of the Earth's axis. A dynamo effect is similar to what happens with an electric generator. When the magnetic field interacts with particles from solar winds, it creates what is known as the aurora borealis near the poles.
Scientists at Goethe-Universitat in Frankfurt, Germany, have discovered that a bird can see the Earth's magnetic fields through photoreceptor cells in the bird's right eye. Birds use this navigational tool to migrate north and south during the autumn and spring.
Before this discovery, it was believed that birds could sense the magnetic field either through their eyes or beaks. These photoreceptor cells create shades of light, which tell the birds if they are on or off course during migration.
Could the Earth's Magnetic Fields Be Causing the Die-Off of Thousands of Birds?
The Goethe-Universitat study revealed that if birds could not see the magnetic field when migrating, they lost their "bearings" and could hurt themselves or even die. NASA reported in 2008 that there was a "massive breach" in the Earth's magnetic field, detected by THEMIS spacecraft. Solar wind can flow through this breach, causing enormous geomagnetic storms. It is very possible that such a geomagnetic storm is responsible for the current deaths of thousands of birds across the planet.
Magnetic storms can cause many different phenomena to occur. Not only do birds, such as the reported blackbirds, pelicans, penguins and eagles, lose their bearings and fall dead from exhaustion and hunger, but radio transmissions can be lost, there can be radiation from too much solar power, and high-energy charged particles can bombard the Earth due to the breach in the magnetic "shield" wrapping the planet.. Magnetic storms can also trigger changes in the Earth's crust, which may lead to increases in landslides, mudslides, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions.
What About the Fish Kills? Are the Fish and Bird Die-Offs Related?
It may be possible that the fish and bird die-offs are unrelated. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Keith Stephens believes that in the drum fish case, it could just be a disease, "since it only affected one species." He says fishkills are not unusual.
However, fishkills are being reported all across the world. Panama reports at least 100 tons of several species of fish found dead all along its coast. Officials there suspect an environmental imbalance, possibly due to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Italy claims a "massacre" of fish, clams, and crabs over Christmas, but blame nearby industries. Similar fishkills are being reported in other cities.
News Source: Suite101