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A magnetometer is an instrument that measures magnetism—either magnetization of magnetic material like a ferromagnet, or the direction, strength, or the relative change of a magnetic field at a particular location. A compass is a simple example of a magnetometer, one that measures the direction of an ambient magnetic field.

Magnetometers are widely used for measuring the Earth’s magnetic field and in geophysical surveys to detect magnetic anomalies of various types. They are also used in the military to detect submarines. Consequently, some countries, such as the United States, Canada and Australia, classify the more sensitive magnetometers as military technology, and control their distribution.


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