Geomagnetic field behaviour preceding a Superchron: new evidence for a weak Devonian geomagnetic field

Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 08:55
300 (Moscone South)
Louise Hawkins1, Taslima Anwar2, Valentina Scherbakova3, Andrew John Biggin1, Vadim A Kravchinsky2, Andrei Shatsillo4, James Holt1 and Vladimir Pavlov5, (1)University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom, (2)University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, (3)Borok Geophysical Observatory, IPE RAS, Borok, Russia, (4)Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth RAS, Moscow, Russia, (5)Institute of Physics of the Earth RAS, Moscow, Russia
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.