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Magnetic‐field penetration is characterized in a current conducting plasma between planar electrodes used as a plasma opening switch [G. G. Spanjers, E. J. Yadlowsky, R. C. Hazelton, and J. J. Moschella, J. Appl. Phys. 77, 3657 (1995)]. The experiment is performed in a regime where Hall effects [Amnon Fruchtman, Phys. Fluids B 3, 1908 (1991)] are predicted to describe the current channel migration. Measurements of the magnetic‐field penetration in two cases with opposite electrical polarity indicate that the Hall effects are not the dominate process. A one‐dimensional resistive magnetohydrodynamic model is used to show that current channels in agreement with those measured can be predicted through a coupling of a plasma snowplow motion with resistive diffusion. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.