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Xu, Shan; Chen, Chaojian; Kruglyakov, Mikhail; Kuvshinov, Alexey; Rigaud, Rafael; Hu, Xiangyun (2023): Enormously large tippers observed in southwest China: can realistic 3-D EM modeling reproduce them? Earth, Planets and Space, 75 (1). ISSN 1880-5981

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Vertical magnetic transfer functions (tippers) estimated at a global/continental net of geomagnetic observatories/sites can be used to image the electrical conductivity structure of the Earth’s crust and upper mantle (down to around 200 km). We estimated tippers at 54 geomagnetic observatories across China, aiming eventually to invert them in terms of subsurface three-dimensional (3-D) conductivity distribution. Strikingly, we obtained enormously large tippers at three inland observatories in southwest China. Large tippers are often observed at coastal/island observatories due to high conductivity contrasts between resistive bedrock and conductive seawater. However, tippers at those inland observatories appeared to be a few times larger than coastal/island tippers. As far as we know, such large tippers (reaching value 3) were never reported in any region worldwide. We perform electromagnetic simulations in 3-D conductivity models mimicking the geological setting and demonstrate that enormously large tippers are feasible and can be attributed to a current channeling effect.

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