Extreme‐value geoelectric amplitude and polarization across the northeast United States

Space Weather
By: , and 



Maps are presented of extreme‐value geoelectric field amplitude and horizontal polarization for the Northeast United States. These maps are derived from geoelectric time series calculated for sites across the Northeast by frequency‐domain multiplication (time‐domain convolution) of 172 magnetotelluric impedance tensors, acquired during a survey, with decades‐long, 1‐min resolution time series of geomagnetic variation, acquired at three magnetic observatories. The maps show that, during intense magnetic storms, high geoelectric amplitude hazards are realized across electrically resistive, igneous and metamorphic rock of the Appalachian Mountains and the New England Highlands, while low geoelectric hazards are realized across electrically conductive, sedimentary rock of the Appalachian Plateau and the Mid‐Atlantic Coastal Plain. From statistical extrapolation, once‐per‐century (100‐year) geoelectric amplitudes are highest at a site in Virginia at 25.44 V/km (followed by a site in Maine at 21.75 V/km and a site in Connecticut at 19.39 V/km); 100‐year geoelectric amplitude exceeds 10 V/km at 12 sites across the northeast; geoelectric amplitude is lowest at a site in Virginia at 0.05 V/km. Average errors for these values are estimated to be about 38%, or much less than the more than 2 orders of magnitude range seen in geoelectric amplitudes from one survey site to another across the northeast. It is noteworthy that geoelectric fields tend to be most (least) polarized at locations with high (low) geoelectric hazard. Furthermore, geoelectric fields over the Appalachians tend to be polarized southeast‐to‐northwest, or generally in a direction orthogonal to the southwest‐to‐northeast geological strike. Results reported here inform utility companies in projects for evaluating and managing the response of power grid systems to the deleterious effects of geomagnetic disturbance.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Extreme‐value geoelectric amplitude and polarization across the northeast United States
Series title Space Weather
DOI 10.1029/2018SW002068
Volume 17
Issue 3
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher AGU
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center, Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 379
Last page 395
Country United States
State Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia
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