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Large geomagnetic field anomalies revealed in Bronze to Iron Age archeomagnetic data from Tel Megiddo and Tel Hazor, Israel

Impact:

The new data illustrate a steady increase in field intensity from a local minimum at ca. 1800 BCE to a period with exceptionally high field values and fast variations between the 10th and the 8th centuries BCE. This period was accompanied by at least two geomagnetic spikes: one at ca. 980 BCE (Ben-Yosef et al., 2009 and Shaar et al., 2011), and another at the beginning of the 8th century BCE (new spike reported here). A possibly third, previously published spike, at ca. 890 BCE need further research to establish its reliability.

The Levant Iron Age anomaly is characterized with maximum field values reaching about twice the ancient axial dipole field (following model of Nilsson et al., 2014) and maximal angular deviation from geocentric axial dipole (GAD) of up to 22°. Using the 2015 IGRF model, we see similar deviations from GAD (intensity and direction) only in the southern hemisphere in areas affected by the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA). This leads us to propose that the Iron Age geomagnetic high in the Levant was a local geomagnetic anomaly similar in scale to SAA, perhaps even larger. Further data are required to establish its geographical extent.

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