Geomagnetic spikes on the core-mantle boundary

TitleGeomagnetic spikes on the core-mantle boundary
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDavies C, Constable C.
JournalNature Communications
Date Published2017/05
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2041-1723
Accession NumberWOS:000402302700001
Keywordsconstraints; convection; earths core; intensity; magnetic-field; nutation; outer-core; secular variation; spherical-shell; torsional waves

Extreme variations of Earth's magnetic field occurred in the Levant region around 1000 BC, when the field intensity rapidly rose and fell by a factor of 2. No coherent link currently exists between this intensity spike and the global field produced by the core geodynamo. Here we show that the Levantine spike must span >60 degrees longitude at Earth's surface if it originates from the core-mantle boundary (CMB). Several low intensity data are incompatible with this geometric bound, though age uncertainties suggest these data could have sampled the field before the spike emerged. Models that best satisfy energetic and geometric constraints produce CMB spikes 8-22 degrees wide, peaking at O(100) mT. We suggest that the Levantine spike reflects an intense CMB flux patch that grew in place before migrating northwest, contributing to growth of the dipole field. Estimates of Ohmic heating suggest that diffusive processes likely govern the ultimate decay of geomagnetic spikes.

Short TitleNat. Commun.
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