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Archeomagnetic intensity spikes: Global or regional geomagnetic field features?

TitleArcheomagnetic intensity spikes: Global or regional geomagnetic field features?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKorte M., Constable C.G
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Date Published2018/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2296-6463
Accession NumberWOS:000429861700001
KeywordsArcheomagnetism; argentina; birkat-ram; earths magnetic-field; eastern china; el-trebol patagonia; Geology; global magnetic field models; golan heights; holocene-pleistocene sediments; intensity spike; israel; palaeosecular variation; paleomagnetism; relative paleointensity; secular variation

Variations of the geomagnetic field prior to direct observations are inferred from archeo- and paleomagnetic experiments. Seemingly unusual variations not seen in the present-day and historical field are of particular interest to constrain the full range of core dynamics. Recently, archeomagnetic intensity spikes, characterized by very high field values that appear to be associated with rapid secular variation rates, have been reported from several parts of the world. They were first noted in data from the Levant at around 900 BCE. A recent re-assessment of previous and new Levantine data, involving a rigorous quality assessment, interprets the observations as an extreme local geomagnetic high with at least two intensity spikes between the 11th and 8th centuries BCE. Subsequent reports of similar features from Asia, the Canary Islands and Texas raise the question of whether such features might be common occurrences, or whether they might even be part of a global magnetic field feature. Here we use spherical harmonic modeling to test two hypotheses: firstly, whether the Levantine and other potential spikes might be associated with higher dipole field intensity than shown by existing global field models around 1,000 BCE, and secondly, whether the observations from different parts of the world are compatible with a westward drifting intense flux patch. Our results suggest that the spikes originate from intense flux patches growing and decaying mostly in situ, combined with stronger and more variable dipole moment than shown by previous global field models. Axial dipole variations no more than 60% higher than observed in the present field, probably within the range of normal geodynamo behavior, seem sufficient to explain the observations.

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