The Earth has a magnetic field, which protects us against electromagnetically charged particles from the Sun. The strength of the Earth's magnetic field varies through time and space. At the moment there is a regional minimum of the Earth’s magnetic field, located beneath South America named the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA). The field intensity there is substantially weaker than is expected from the current geocentric axial dipole moment.
The aim of my PhD project is to improve our knowledge about this low field intensity zone. For this, we use volcanic rocks. Volcanic rocks acquire a magnetization when they cool in the Earth's magnetic field, and they can keep this magnetization for very long timescales. The current field models that track the onset and evolution of the anomaly are hampered by a lack of paleomagnetic data from the Southern Hemisphere. During my PhD project we focus on obtaining more paleomagnetic data from volcanic regions in the Southern Hemisphere.