Living under the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly

Location: Conference Room 4th floor Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel

Tuesday 22 May 2018, 13:00 – 13:15


The Earth’s magnetic field can be approximated as an intense magnetic dipole, located in the center of the Earth and rotated 10deg with respect to the axis of rotation. However, there are two other effects: i) the dipole is displaced towards Southeast Asia; ii) the field has a quadrupole component.
The map of the terrestrial field presents three peaks of high intensity located in: North of Canada, Antarctica and Siberia. And a minimum of intensity in the region known as the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly (SAMA or SAA), located close to the triple border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
The low intensity of the magnetic field in the SAMA region causes the Van Allen belts to approach the Earth’s surface at a lower altitude than in the rest of the planet; producing an intense flow of atomic particles at heights of a few hundred kilometers. This affects the electronics of artificial satellites when they pass through this region. The consequences of this phenomenon for the living beings that inhabit the SAMA region, still requires a deeper study.


Gonzalo Tancredi

University of Uruguay