The total magnetic field near the surface of the Earth is a sum of several constituent fields. Part of the total field consists of fields that are transient or rapidly varying. These fields are caused, either directly or indirectly, by electric currents in the upper atmosphere and beyond. The part of the total field that is more permanent arises from sources that are located inside the Earth. Evidence suggests that this part has two principal constituents: the main field and the crustal field.

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