Geoelectric hazard maps for the Pacific Northwest

Space Weather
By: , and 



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 historical 1‐min (2‐min Nyquist) geomagnetic variation time series obtained from two nearby observatories. After fitting statistical models to 1‐min geoelectric amplitudes realized during magnetic storms, extrapolations are made to estimate threshold amplitudes that are only exceeded, on average, once per century. One hundred‐year geoelectric exceedance amplitudes range from 0.06 V/km at a survey site in western Washington State to 9.47 V/km at a site in southeast British Columbia; 100‐year geoelectric exceedance amplitudes equal 7.10 V/km at a site north of Seattle and 2.28 V/km at a site north of Portland. Systematic and random errors are estimated to be less than 20%, much less than site‐to‐site differences in geoelectric amplitude that arise from site‐to‐site differences in surface impedance. Maps of 100‐year exceedance amplitudes are compared with the peak geoelectric amplitudes realized during the March 1989 magnetic superstorm; it is noted that some storms of relatively modest intensity can generate localized geoelectric fields of relatively high amplitude. The geography of geoelectric hazard across the Pacific Northwest is closely related to known geologic and tectonic structures.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Geoelectric hazard maps for the Pacific Northwest
Series title Space Weather
DOI 10.1029/2018SW001844
Volume 16
Issue 8
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center, Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 1114
Last page 1127
Country United States, Canada
Other Geospatial Pacific Northwest
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