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The Magnetic Field of the Earth's Lithosphere

Abstract : The lithospheric contribution to the Earth's magnetic field is concealed in magnetic field data that have now been measured over several decades from ground to satellite altitudes. The lithospheric field results from the superposition of induced and remanent magnetisations. It therefore brings an essential constraint on the magnetic properties of rocks of the Earth's sub-surface that would otherwise be difficult to characterize. Measuring, extracting, interpreting and even defining the magnetic field of the Earth's lithosphere is however challenging. In this paper, we review the difficulties encountered. We briefly summarize the various contributions to the Earth's magnetic field that hamper the correct identification of the lithospheric component. Such difficulties could be partially alleviated with the joint analysis of multi-level magnetic field observations, even though one cannot avoid making compromises in building models and maps of the magnetic field of the Earth's lithosphere at various altitudes. Keeping in mind these compromises is crucial when lithospheric field models are interpreted and correlated with other geophysical information. We illustrate this discussion with recent advances and results that were exploited to infer statistical properties of the Earth's lithosphere. The lessons learned in measuring and processing Earth's magnetic field data may prove fruitful in planetary exploration, where magnetism is one of the few remotely accessible internal properties.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 11, 2022 - 7:21:44 AM
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Erwan Thébault, Michael Purucker, Kathryn A. Whaler, Benoit Langlais, Terence J. Sabaka. The Magnetic Field of the Earth's Lithosphere. Space Science Reviews, 2010, 155, pp.95-127. ⟨10.1007/s11214-010-9667-6⟩. ⟨insu-03605296⟩

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