What is the anomaly of the Earth’s magnetic field and why does it affect South America?

What is the anomaly of the Earth’s magnetic field and why does it affect South America?
What is the anomaly of the Earth’s magnetic field and why does it affect South America?

The Earth’s magnetic field originates from the poles and protects the Earth from solar radiation.

He magnetic field of the Land has a strange anomaly that was detected decades ago by scientists who study our planet, but that in In recent years it has intensified.

This anomaly, which experts call “magnetic field dent”is located on a area between South America and the South Atlantic. It is a geomagnetic peculiarity, and is characterized by a significant decrease in magnetic field intensity compared to other areas of the planet.

Although the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly (AMAS) has been the subject of study for decades due to its uniqueness and its possible relationship with underlying geodynamic and geophysical processes, The US government revealed that it has increased its weakness in South America over the past four years, with growth of 7%.

For years, Earth observation scientists have detected a magnetic anomaly in the south of the planet
For years, Earth observation scientists have detected a magnetic anomaly in the south of the planet

Both the POTthe National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) of the United States and the Geographic Defense Center (DGC) of the United Kingdom confirmed this increasing activity of the fault.

There are several theories that scientists develop to explain this phenomenon. One of the hypothesis suggests that it could be related to the presence of an accumulation of ancient basaltic rocks in the Earth’s mantle, which affects the generation of the magnetic field in that area.

Another theory raises the possibility that there is electrical currents in the liquid core of the Earth that interact with the structure of the Earth’s crust in that region, thus altering the magnetic field.

The Sun is going through a period of maximum activity, with an increase in its magnetic storms (NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via The New York Times)
The Sun is going through a period of maximum activity, with an increase in its magnetic storms (NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via The New York Times)

The main concern with this rising anomaly is the potential impact on humanity and terrestrial living beings.

It is that he magnetic field that protects the surface of the planet acts as a natural protective shield that repels the harmful particles emitted by the Sun, such as cosmic radiation and solar winds, that can cause great impacts both on health and on our technology. A weaker magnetic field allows greater passage of these particles, getting closer and closer to the Earth’s surface and generating a potential threat.

“If he Earth’s magnetic field did not exist, the Solar radiation would destroy the biosphere in a matter of years”say experts.

A computer simulation of the Earth's magnetic field, which is generated by heat transfer in the planet's core. (e Earth. (NASA)
A computer simulation of the Earth’s magnetic field, which is generated by heat transfer in the planet’s core. (e Earth. (NASA)

Also, the weakening of the magnetic field can affect compass navigation systems and the readings of magnetic instruments used in aviation and shipping. In addition, this anomaly may have implications for satellite communications and the protection of electronic systems from space radiation.

To better understand this anomaly and its implications, ongoing research is being conducted. Scientists use a combination of data collected from space, such as those provided by satellites specialized in measuring the magnetic field, and ground-based measurements to map and monitor the South Atlantic Anomaly.

These efforts seek to shed light on the underlying geodynamic and geophysical processes, and improve our understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field in this region.

Today, the anomaly directly affects South America, especially Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, where The lower intensity of the magnetic field exposes satellites and navigation systems to high levels of cosmic radiation.

The mixing of the Sun's magnetic field lines (Photo: YouTube Screenshot NASA Goddard)
The mixing of the Sun’s magnetic field lines (Photo: YouTube Screenshot NASA Goddard)

“The performance of the World Magnetic Model 2020 (WMM2020) “was evaluated by comparing its predictions of January 1, 2024 with that of a more recent model inferred from the data collected by the Swarm satellites of the European Space Agency (ESA) until September 2023,” the experts specify in the latest report given to know about this anomaly at the end of 2023.

“In 2020, the north magnetic dipping pole has moved at an average speed of 41 km/year, and the south pole magnetic dip pole at 9 km/year. Neither of them noticed any noticeable change in direction. “These movements led to minor changes in the shape and location of the WMM blocking zones, where the accuracy of the compass is highly degraded,” the study added.

And he concluded: “The South Atlantic anomaly, where the intensity of the geomagnetic field is lower, ha continued to deepen (approximately 25 nT at surface level) and moving westward (its center moved approximately 20 km at surface level) in the last year. During the past year, three strong to severe geomagnetic storms occurred, leading to significant (e.g., declination deviations of more than 9 degrees) but temporary effects on WMM performance, mainly at high geomagnetic latitudes.”

The anomaly is located in much of Brazil and Argentina
The anomaly is located in much of Brazil and Argentina

According to the report, If this anomaly continues to weaken, it is most likely that it will become a ‘hole’. This in principle will not affect life on Earth, but it will affect the satellites that are flying over, which will be exposed to the Sun’s geomagnetic storms.

Are solar storms they originate in sunspots, cooler, darker areas on the surface of our star, where magnetic fields are particularly strong and twisted. When these Magnetic fields rearrange or intersect, releasing great energy in the form of solar flares.

This became known, for example, when the Solar particles arrived on Earth on May 10 and created a long-lasting geomagnetic storm, reaching a G5 rating, the highest level seen since 2003. Additionally, on May 14, the Sun issued a class X8.7 solar flare, the largest of solar cycle 25.

Changes in Earth's global magnetic field over six months, measured by the European Space Agency's three-satellite constellation Swarm. (ESA/DTU SPACE)
Changes in Earth’s global magnetic field over six months, measured by the European Space Agency’s three-satellite constellation Swarm. (ESA/DTU SPACE)

The last great solar storm not only did it light up the sky with bright and unusual auroras during the second week of May, but it was also so intense that it could be recorded in the deep ocean waters.

The magnetic compasses from the Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) underwater observatories) recorded a temporary distortion of the magnetic field from the earth.

 
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