Geomagnetic field behaviour preceding a Superchron: new evidence for a weak Devonian geomagnetic field
Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 08:55
300 (Moscone South)
The ~50 million year transition from the peak in reversal frequency in the Middle Jurassic (~170Ma), associated with a weak geomagnetic field, to the stable and apparently strong field during the Cretaceous Normal Superchron (84-121Ma), represents a dramatic change in time-averaged geomagnetic field behaviour during the Mesozoic Era. New evidence from Siberian samples suggests there is a similar transition in geomagnetic field behaviour during the Palaeozoic, with a weak geomagnetic field in the Upper Devonian preceding the Permo-Carboniferous Superchron (262-318Ma). Both sites, the Viluy Traps and the Zharovsk complex of the Patom Margin, have seemingly reliable, published palaeomagnetic directions and new age constraints, 364.4 ± 1.7Ma (40Ar/39A) 371-377Ma (U-Pb) respectively. The samples were measured using the Thermal Thellier-Coe protocol with partial thermo-remanent magnetisation (pTRM) and tail checks and the Microwave Thellier-IZZI protocol with pTRM checks. Accepted Arai plots show positive pTRM checks, a clear relation between distinct primary directional and palaeointensity components and little to no zig-zagging. Three distinct magneto-mineralogical types were identified from SEM and rock magnetic techniques; low Ti- and intermediate Ti- titanomagnetite and possible maghemite, with mineral type affecting the success rate of samples but resulting in no significant variation in palaeointensity results. The Arai plots also commonly have a distinct two-slope concave-up shape, although non-heating, pseudo-Thellier experiments have supported this resulting from a strong overprint component rather than alteration or multi-domain effects. Results from these experiments give low site mean values between 2.3-29.9μT (Virtual Dipole Moments 4-50.6 ZAm2). The apparently periodic (~180 million years) transitions in geomagnetic field behaviour may indicate the influence of mantle convection changing heat flow across the Core Mantle Boundary.