Single Silicate Crystal Paleointensity Analyses of the ca. 2.575 Ga Great Dyke of Zimbabwe

Friday, 19 December 2014: 8:15 AM
Timothy O'Brien, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, United States, John Anthony Tarduno, Univ Rochester, Rochester, NY, United States and Axel Hofmann, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, South Africa
Recent considerations of core thermal conductivity suggest a relatively young (less than 1 billion-year-old) age for the inner core, excluding compositional convection associated with inner core growth as a driving mechanism for an Archean geodynamo. These reconsiderations provide further motivation for studying the nature of the field when core convection was predominantly related to core mantle boundary heat flow. Here we examine the ca. 2.575 Ga Great Dyke of Zimbabwe. We rely on deep drill core samples, eliminating the otherwise pervasive effects of lightning seen in surface samples. We apply single silicate crystal paleointensity (SCP) techniques (Tarduno et al., Rev. Geophys., 2006) on feldspars separated from orthopyroxene gabbros (norites). Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses indicate the presence of rare sub-micron equant to slightly elongate magnetic inclusions in the feldspars. The magnetite/titanomagnetite needles commonly observed in feldspars of slowly cooled igneous rocks are rarely observed in crystals from our Great Dyke gabbro samples. Selection criteria of crystals for analyses required feldspar crystals to be free of visible multi-domain inclusions. Natural remanent magnetic intensities of ca. 1 mm-sized feldspar crystal are relatively weak (approximately 1-2 x 10-8 emu), but well within the measurement range of the University of Rochester small bore ultra-high moment resolution 2G DC SQUID magnetometer. Preliminary total thermal demagnetization experiments suggest paleofield values within 50% of those of the present-day, similar to other results that imply a relatively strong magnetic field during the late Archean. Results from Thellier analyses will be used to test this interpretation.