Were the Northern Lights to blame for the stranding of 29 whales?

Researchers believe the solar storm disturbed the Earth's magnetic field

Updated: 

Researchers believe they have figured out why, in early 2016, 29 apparently healthy sperm whales became stranded on the beaches and in the shallow waters of the North Sea.

Their studies suggest the mass fatality was linked to the Northern Lights.

See also: Reykjavik switches street lights off for Northern Lights display

See also: Spectacular ways to see the Northern Lights this autumn

The light show occurs as the result of a solar storm, which can, in turn, disturb the Earth's magnetic field.

Some studies suggest that a number of animals, including whales, may use the field as a travel guide so disturbances of it could cause them to become disorientated and end up far from their usual range.

Sky News reported: "A few weeks before the whales washed up, a Norwegian measuring station near Shetland recorded changes in the magnetic field intensity and inclination in the area.

According to Reuters, the team of German scientists behind the finding plans to carry out further research into the possible link to solar storms and the Earth's magnetic field.

Britain's amazing sea life

Britain's amazing sea life