Earth’s magnetic field, generated by the movement of liquid iron and nickel in the outer core, makes life on Earth possible. It prevents our atmosphere from being degraded by solar winds and allows us to use a simple compass to measure our location anywhere on Earth. An understanding of the exact location on Earth’s surface is important for many industries such as mining and transportation. As movement in the outer core changes over time, so too does Earth’s magnetic field vary in time and extent. Thus the magnetic poles slowly drift and are not fixed in location. Weak spots in Earth’s magnetic field, primarily the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA), present challenges to satellites and Earth’s atmosphere as they are exposed to increased particle radiation from the sun. Large space weather events, such as those of the Carrington event in 1859, may also disturb Earth’s magnetic field for a time. Monitoring Earth’s magnetic field is of vital importance for scientists to understand what is happening deep in Earth’s core and from space.
- Measure the background geomagnetic field of your campus
- Identify anomalies created by local magnetic sources.
- Compare geomagnetic data collected by different devices