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Name: Zach H.
Status: Student
Grade: 9-12
Location: Texas
Country: United States
Date: January 2007


Question:
How can you make observations of local anomalies in the earth's magnetic field?



Replies:
One needs a magnetometer. I have seen plans for simple magnetometers in Scientific American and similar publications. Popular electronic and mechanical magazines as well as student/teacher science magazines are also good places research if you want to make one for yourself. I just entered "magnetometer plans" into my favorite search engine and got a number of hits.

Variations in the earth's field will occur both during the day if the sensor is not moved, or from place to place when you move the magnetometer around the countryside.

Bob Avakian
Oklahoma State University


Earth scientists, geologists, etc. measure the earth's magnetic field with a magnetometer, which is fundamentally a compass mounted on pivots so that measures the field's direction at a given point, that is at a given longitude, latitude, altitude. The "strength" of the field is determined from the "strength" of the pull on the sensor at a given point. In modern instruments the sensors are electronic of course, but the principles are the same. The results are then superimposed on a map using computer software (and probably a GPS). There are "physics lab" units available from science suppliers, such as Pasco Inc., but I do not know how easy it would be to actually make a map with that demonstration apparatus.

Vince Calder



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