23.09.2014|Tristan da Cunha: The Government of Tristan da Cunha and the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam have signed an agreement to operate a geomagnetic observatory on the island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. Thus, the GFZ extends its network of observatories for geomagnetic research into one of the most important areas of the magnetic field of the earth.
The biggest anomaly in the Earth’s magnetic field is located in the South Atlantic region. Due to processes in the Earth’s core, the magnetic field there is weak and it is decreasing continuously. The decrease in Earth’s natural shield against cosmic and particle radiation leads to a regional increase in technical faults on satellites. Also the strength of ionospheric currents is increased with the lower magnetic field strength. Continuous geomagnetic data from Tristan da Cunha allows to monitor the variations of the Earth’s magnetic field and to draw conclusions on the dynamo in Earth’s core as well as local and global space weather phenomenon.
“These unique observatory data support our own scientific investigations at GFZ. At the same time, the data is freely available to scientists world wide.” Emphasizes Dr. Jürgen Matzka from the Geomagnetic Observatory Niemegk, who is in charge of the long-term project on Tristan da Cunha.
The Tristan da Cunha island group is a British Overseas Territory and home to 270 people. It can only be reached by a few ships ever year. The distance to South Africa South America and Antarctica is between 2700 and 3500 km.