This theory, what I call the world shift theory, states that the Earth's original orbit was solar stationary at one of its poles constantly facing the Sun, building, over time, the magnetic poles. Impact from our Moon and or other bodies threw this off balance, resulting in the present day wobble we now have today where the poles are no longer oriented this way and instead the magnetic build up is targeted around our equator. This magnetism is the cause for continental drift because it is pulling the Earth apart from the center out.

My question is:

If it is possible, what could be the potential results of this in the future? Could the magnetic buildup become enough to rip the world apart in a massive flipping of the land mass? Could electromagnetic paths from the equator cause a static discharge effect causing constant ground to ground lightening?

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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't seem to be about worldbuilding so much as a scientific theory. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 19 '16 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ My apologies if this was not the right forum to ask this I am new to these forums. If there is a more suitable place for this question please move it. $\endgroup$ – Firobug Feb 19 '16 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ That's fine. I don't think that this would fit any of the science sites, because it's a personal theory. Questions about non-mainstream ideas are okay on some of the sites, but they have to be established as theories - not just personal thoughts. Others here may disagree, so they may be able to give better advice than I. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 19 '16 at 1:20


If I'm understanding, you start with a planet that's tidally-locked to its sun. The charged particles from the star impact one side of the planet over a couple billion years, causing the ferrous mantle and/or core materials to preferentially orient parallel, like creating a permanent magnet with an electromagnet.

Then, some cosmic event, like a moon impacting the planet, causes the planet to spin about 365 times faster along an axis roughly perpendicular to the north/south magnetic axis.

Then, the magnetic field pulls on the ferrous mantle bits, causing a form of plate tectonics over the next billion years while life is forming.


There are four problems with the scenario.

First, the sun releases both positive and negative particles, so the solar wind is electrically neutral. A positively-charged particle induces an inverted magnetic field, so the the solar wind is magnetically neutral as well. So you really can't "charge" a planetary magnet this way.

Second, as soon as the moon impacted the planet, it would likely turn much of the mantle into molten goo, which would reset the preferentially-aligned ferrous molecules (no more magnetic north/south). However, this isn't guaranteed. It's remotely plausible that solid chunks sort of floated around the underlying molten bits (like super-rapid tectonics), causing the unusual magnetic patterns in the first place (emphasis on "remotely").

Third, the odds of the moon impact causing the planet to start spinning really fast are vanishingly small. You'd likely still have a very slow-turning planet. I'm fairly confident that even if you could hit the planet hard enough and in the right place to add that kind of angular momentum, it would obliterate the planet (no more magnetic field after the planet re-formed from the molten debris).

Fourth, the magnetic fields aren't remotely strong enough to cause plate tectonics. If there was that much force, the iron would just rip through the ground and end up in one spot. Or, more likely, the charged and uncharged iron would end up scattering each other all over the planet, mostly neutralizing the magnetic field.


It's an interesting idea, but I don't think it's plausible at all.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok. Presuming that instead the moon was covered in ice/water originally and that the impact largely melted it in the process of heating things up and the larger gravity of earth caused all water to gravitate to it cooling the earth in the process. The moons impact bouncing it back where it sits now but causing the fact that only one face is ever towards earth. Also the remnants of charged metals scattered through earth are weakly charged the rest compose our core...the bits while widely scattered lack direct force of them self but collectively attracting the overall force through the whole? $\endgroup$ – Firobug Feb 19 '16 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ Water doesn't cool things down because it's intrinsically cold. Water that's already cold can cool things down better than, e.g., cold cotton balls, because it transfers heat more quickly. But in a celestial impact, everything is hot. The water, the rocks, the air, everything. As for the second question, the charged metals are equally positive and negative, so the collective force is zero. The only way to get a prominent field is to align vast numbers of charges so they're pointing the same way, and that alignment A, doesn't happen because of problem 1, and B) is reversed by problem 2. $\endgroup$ – MichaelS Feb 19 '16 at 4:18

There are several other problems with the idea in additions to the ones MichaelS gives.

The first is that our magnetic field is generated by a dynamo action with molten iron and other materials circulating near the earth's core. Since that is molten and moving then planetary alignment is fairly irrelevant.

Magnetism of the strength needed to rip the earth apart is while not completely impossible in of itself certainly impossible for any known mechanisms within the earth to generate. Even if the fields were generated Magnetic fields in general only work on other magnetic fields, and they would tend to spin until they are aligned and then attract each other rather than repelling.

And last but not least the theory is implausible based no our knowledge of how the solar system formed. Everything pulled together out of a single cloud of spinning gas which is why most things orbit in the same plane and spin in the same direction. A planet with it's poles pointing towards the star would not form.

  • $\begingroup$ What of events similar to the latest end of the world propeganda about our binary star system claiming that planet x aka nemisis aka nibaru is headed on a trajectory course to pass. Within 100,000,000 miles of our own planet.surely miscellaneous impacts of differing bodies of differing mass could result in such an allignemnt or at the least a different axis from present as magnetic north is known to be different from true North how is this explained? $\endgroup$ – Firobug Feb 20 '16 at 1:25

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