Geomagnetism Program


The mission of the U.S.G.S's Geomagnetism Program is to monitor the Earth's magnetic field. In recent years, monitoring of the Earth's magnetic field has become important for mitigating the impacts of space weather. Magnetic storms, or periods of time when the field is unusually active, can adversely affect the infrastructure and activities of our modern, technology-based society.

geomagnetism and magnetic fields within the layers of earth.

In response to the rapidly evolving science of geomagnetism and the ever more stringent demands of the scientific community, Program staff are constantly upgrading and modernizing the observatory network. Geomagnetism is headquartered with the USGS Geologic Hazards Team in Golden, Colorado, which also includes staff supported by the Earthquake Hazards and Landslide Hazards Programs.

The Sun and its interaction with the Earth's magnetic field in space.

The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey's Geomagnetism Program is to monitor the Earth's magnetic field. Using ground-based observatories, the Program provides continuous records of magnetic field variations covering long timescales; disseminates magnetic data to various governmental, academic, and private institutions; and conducts research into the nature of geomagnetic variations.

plots of wiggly lines

For centuries, the compass has been used for orientation and navigation, with the north-seeking tendency of its magnetized needle responding to Earth's magnetic field. Magnetic maps and charts need to be updated every few years, an on-going project that requires the collection of magnetic data as the field is complicated in shape and changes over time.