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Scientists study Earthly 'flip-flop'

Los Angeles -- Scientists studying rocks in Nevada say they've found evidence that Earth's magnetic field can reverse or "flip-flop" more rapidly than previously believed.

"Geomagnetic field reversals" of the Earth's magnetism occur every couple hundred thousand years and normally take about 4,000 years but the Nevada finding suggest at least one particular reversal of the globe's magnetic poles happened much faster, ScienceNews.org reported.

The discovery bolsters the theory, first proposed after a similar examination of rocks in Oregon in 1995, that reversals really can happen quickly, over the course of years or centuries instead of millennia, researchers say.