The study of changes in the Earth’s magnetic field is one of the main research activities at the Ukrainian Antarctic station Akademik Vernadsky. As you know, this field is formed due to the circulation of molten metal in the interior of the planet. This process is unstable, which is manifested in the migration of magnetic poles.
Continuous, high-precision recording of the Earth’s magnetic field and its changes over time is carried out in geomagnetic observatories. Ukraine has only 4 such observatories: near Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, and in the Antarctic. The latter is called the Argentine Islands (AIA).
The importance of AIA
At this observatory, scientists began observing changes in the magnetic field in 1954, when the station was called Faraday and belonged to Britain. After it was transferred to Ukraine in 1996, such observations continued.
So now the Antarctic Observatory has the longest geomagnetic data series in the Antarctic. This is extremely valuable for scientists around the world, as it allows them to track changes in the magnetic field over different periods.
In 2004, AIA became a full member of the INTERMAGNET network of the world’s best observatories. Currently, this network unites 106 geomagnetic observatories from 43 countries.
All of them meet certain standards: they have digital registration, the ability to send data to geomagnetic information centers within 72 hours, and meet certain conditions during observation and data processing.
Modernization of the observatory
The requirements for geomagnetic observatories are constantly increasing, which requires regular equipment upgrades to obtain high-quality, highly discrete and timely data.
Therefore, one of the tasks of the current seasonal expedition to Vernadsky is to modernize our observatory. This is the responsibility of geophysicist Yurii Sumaruk. He:
- will install a new magnetovariation station and ensure continuous data transmission from it;
- will launch a new industrial computer for uninterrupted data recording from the GSM-90 proton magnetometer;
- updates data transmission channels, etc.
After the modernization, the Argentine Islands Geomagnetic Observatory will be the only one in the Antarctic that will transmit ultra-precise one-second geomagnetic data in a new format in accordance with INTERMAGNET requirements. In general, in 2022-2023, no more than 11 INTERMAGNET observatories transmitted this type of data, i.e. up to 10%.