Persistent high paleosecular variation activity in southern hemisphere for at least 10 000 years

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Abstract

Direct observations of the geomagnetic field show that secular variation is strong in the Atlantic hemisphere, and comparatively reduced in the Pacific region. The dipole has been decaying since at least 1840 AD, driven by growth and migration of reverse flux patches in the southern hemisphere. We investigate whether anything like this modern pattern of geomagnetic secular variation persists and can be detected in global paleomagnetic field models. Synthesis of results from two new time-varying spherical harmonic models shows that geographically distinct geomagnetic secular variation extends to at least 10 000 BP. The models use the same database but differ in methodology, leading to some regional differences in results. Consistent large-scale surface features include strong average fields in the northern hemisphere and weaker fields with greater overall variability in the south. Longitudinal structure is present, with weaker average fields in the western Pacific than in the east, and prominent negative inclination anomalies extending beneath Indonesia, across Africa and to Brazil, but weaker anomalies in the central Pacific. Marginally positive inclination anomalies occur west of the Americas. Paleosecular variation activity peaks at high southern latitudes, and there is a pattern of reduced activity at equatorial and mid-latitudes beneath the Pacific. Although the dipole has exhibited both growth and decay over the interval 0–10 000 BP, our results show that geomagnetic paleosecular variation is preferentially focused in similar geographic regions to secular variation seen in the modern field.

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Constable, C., Korte, M., & Panovska, S. (2016). Persistent high paleosecular variation activity in southern hemisphere for at least 10 000 years. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 453, 78–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2016.08.015

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