Geoelectric hazard maps for the Mid-Atlantic United States: 100 year extreme values and the 1989 magnetic storm

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

Maps of extreme value geoelectric field amplitude are constructed for the Mid‐Atlantic United States, a region with high population density and critically important power grid infrastructure. Geoelectric field time series for the years 1983–2014 are estimated by convolving Earth surface impedances obtained from 61 magnetotelluric survey sites across the Mid‐Atlantic with historical 1 min (2 min Nyquist) measurements of geomagnetic variation obtained from a nearby observatory. Statistical models are fitted to the maximum geoelectric amplitudes occurring during magnetic storms, and extrapolations made to estimate threshold amplitudes only exceeded, on average, once per century. For the Mid‐Atlantic region, 100 year geoelectric exceedance amplitudes have a range of almost 3 orders of magnitude (from 0.04 V/km at a site in southern Pennsylvania to 24.29 V/km at a site in central Virginia), and they have significant geographic granularity, all of which is due to site‐to‐site differences in magnetotelluric impedance. Maps of these 100 year exceedance amplitudes resemble those of the estimated geoelectric amplitudes attained during the March 1989 magnetic storm, and, in that sense, the March 1989 storm resembles what might be loosely called a “100 year” event. The geoelectric hazard maps reported here stand in stark contrast with the 100 year geoelectric benchmarks developed for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Geoelectric hazard maps for the Mid-Atlantic United States: 100 year extreme values and the 1989 magnetic storm
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1002/2017GL076042
Volume 45
Issue 1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher AGU
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 5
Last page 14