Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 239–259 | Cite as

An interpretation of induced electric currents in long pipelines caused by natural geomagnetic sources of the upper atmosphere

  • Wallace H. Campbell


Electric currents in long pipelines can contribute to corrosion effects that limit the pipe's lifetime. One cause of such electric currents is the geomagnetic field variations that have sources in the Earth's upper atmosphere. Knowledge of the general behavior of the sources allows a prediction of the occurrence times, favorable locations for the pipeline effects, and long-term projections of corrosion contributions. The source spectral characteristics, the Earth's conductivity profile, and a corrosion-frequency dependence limit the period range of the natural field changes that affect the pipe. The corrosion contribution by induced currents from geomagnetic sources should be evaluated for pipelines that are located at high and at equatorial latitudes. At midlatitude locations, the times of these natural current maxima should be avoided for the necessary accurate monitoring of the pipe-to-soil potential.


Electric Current Field Variation Current Maximum Field Change Occurrence Time 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wallace H. Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey MS 964Denver Federal CenterDenverUSA

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