Towards an Optimal Multi-Method Paleointensity Approach
Abstract:Our recently proposed ‘multi-method paleointensity approach’ consists of at least IZZI-Thellier, MSP-DSC and pseudo-Thellier experiments, complemented with Microwave Thellier experiments for key flows or ages. All results are scrutinized by strict selection criteria to accept only the most reliable paleointensities. This approach yielded reliable estimates of the paleofield for ~70% of all cooling units sampled on Hawaii – an exceptionally high number for a paleointensity study on lavas. Furthermore the credibility of the obtained results is greatly enhanced if more methods mutually agree with in their experimental uncertainties.
To further assess the success rate of this new approach, we applied it to two collections of (sub-)recent lavas from Tenerife and Gran Canaria (20 cooling units), and Terceira (Azores, 18 cooling units). Although the mineralogy and rock-magnetic properties of much of these flows seemed less favorable for paleointensity techniques compared to the Hawaiian samples, again the multi-method paleointensity approach yielded reliable estimates for 60-70% of all cooling units.
One of the methods, the newly calibrated pseudo-Thellier method, proved to be an important element of our new paleointensity approach yielding reliable estimates for ~50% of the Hawaiian lavas sampled. Its applicability to other volcanic edifices, however, remained questionable. The results from the Canarian and Azorean volcanic edifices provide further constraints on this method’s potential. For lavas that are rock-magnetically (i.e. susceptibility-vs-temperature behavior) akin to Hawaiian lavas, the same selection criterion and calibration formula yielded successful results - testifying to the veracity of this new paleointensity method.
Besides methodological advances our new record for the Canary Islands also has geomagnetic implications. It reveals a dramatic increase in the intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field from ~1250 to ~720 BC, reaching a maximum VADM of ~125 ZAm2. Although the maximum field intensity in our record is considerably lower than the maxima in the records reported for the coeval intensity high in the Levant, our new record provides some spatial and temporal constraints for this intriguing and still largely enigmatic geomagnetic phenomenon.