Geomagnetism

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We monitor the Earth's magnetic field. Using ground-based observatories, we provide continuous records of magnetic field variations; disseminate magnetic data to various governmental, academic, and private institutions; and conduct research into the nature of geomagnetic variations for purposes of scientific understanding and hazard mitigation.

Keeping the Lights On in North America

Keeping the Lights On in North America

Realtime geoelectric maps during a magnetic storm can assist utility companies with their operations and can help power-grid managers to make decisions that may minimize the impact to their systems.

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The Electric Storm of November 1882

 The Electric Storm of November 1882

Strange things started happening on November 17, 1882, and no one knew quite what to make of it.(image from Baranyi et al., 2016)

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New 3D Measurements Improve Understanding of Geomagnetic Storm Hazards

New 3D Measurements Improve Understanding of Geomagnetic Storm Hazards

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News

Date published: December 4, 2018

Keeping the Lights On in North America

Realtime geoelectric maps during a magnetic storm can assist utility companies with their operations and can help power-grid managers to make decisions that may minimize the impact to their systems.

Date published: September 18, 2018

Science for a Risky World: A USGS Plan for Risk Research and Applications – USGS publishes strategic plan for examining risk

USGS explores opportunities to advance its capabilities in risk assessment, mitigation, and communication in new strategic plan.

Date published: September 18, 2018

USGS Science – Leading the Way for Preparedness

Learn About USGS Hazards Science and More About National Preparedness Month: The very nature of natural hazards means that they have the potential to impact a majority of Americans every year.  USGS science provides part of the foundation for emergency preparedness whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Honolulu Magnetic Observatory

Tucked in a grove of thorny mesquite trees, on an ancient coral reef on the south side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, west of Pearl Harbor, a small unmanned observatory quietly records the Earth’s time-varying magnetic field. The Honolulu Magnetic Observatory is 1 of 14 that the U.S. Geological Survey Geomag­netism Program operates at various...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Finn, Carol A.
Love, J.J., and Finn, C.A., 2018, Honolulu Magnetic Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3029, 2 p.

Year Published: 2018

Geoelectric hazard maps for the Pacific Northwest

Maps of extreme value, horizontal component geoelectric field amplitude are constructed for the Pacific Northwest United States (and parts of neighboring Canada). Multidecade long geoelectric field time series are calculated by convolving Earth surface impedance tensors from 71 discrete magnetotelluric survey sites across the region with...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Lucas, Greg M.; Kelbert, Anna; Bedrosian, Paul A.

Year Published: 2018

On the feasibility of real-time mapping of the geoelectric field across North America

A review is given of the present feasibility for accurately mapping geoelectric fields across North America in near-realtime by modeling geomagnetic monitoring and magnetotelluric survey data. Should this capability be successfully developed, it could inform utility companies of magnetic-storm interference on electric-power-grid systems. That real...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Rigler, E. Joshua; Kelbert, Anna; Finn, Carol A.; Bedrosian, Paul A.; Balch, Christopher C.
Love, J.J., Rigler, E.J., Kelbert, Anna, Finn, C.A., Bedrosian, P.A., and Balch, C.C., 2018, On the feasibility of real-time mapping of the geoelectric field across North America: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1043, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181043.