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Magnetic oceans and electric Earth


The Magnetic Tidal Signals and Their Use in Mapping the Electrical Conductivity of the Lithosphere and Upper Mantle project was part of ESA's STSE (the Support To Science Element) Swarm+Innovation Program, a programmatic component of EOEP (Earth Observation Envelope Programme).

This project aimed to use the magnetic fields produced from ocean tides to probe the conductivity of Earth's lithosphere and upper mantle (LUM).

ESA Swarm constellation mission provides good spatial data coverage and gives the possibility of obtaining global images of 3-D mantle heterogeneities, especially in oceanic regions.

The objectives of this project were:

  • To investigate how sensitive tidal EM signals to conductivity changes at LUM (10-400 KM) depths
  • To recover magnetic tidal signals from the Swarm magnetic data
  • To develop numerical schemes to use these magnetic tidal signals for probing the electrical conductivity at LUM depths
  • To constrain the LUM conductivity using tidal signals


To find out more, see EPM Group - Science Advances paper: Magnetic oceans and electric Earth.

Project duration: April 2015 - autumn 2016. This project was supported by ESA.