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Panovska, S, Constable CG.  2017.  An activity index for geomagnetic paleosecular variation, excursions, and reversals. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 18:1366-1375.   10.1002/2016gc006668   AbstractWebsite

Magnetic indices provide quantitative measures of space weather phenomena that are widely used by researchers in geomagnetism. We introduce an index focused on the internally generated field that can be used to evaluate long term variations or climatology of modern and paleomagnetic secular variation, including geomagnetic excursions, polarity reversals, and changes in reversal rate. The paleosecular variation index, P-i, represents instantaneous or average deviation from a geocentric axial dipole field using normalized ratios of virtual geomagnetic pole colatitude and virtual dipole moment. The activity level of the index, sigma P-i, provides a measure of field stability through the temporal standard deviation of P-i. P-i can be calculated on a global grid from geomagnetic field models to reveal large scale geographic variations in field structure. It can be determined for individual time series, or averaged at local, regional, and global scales to detect long term changes in geomagnetic activity, identify excursions, and transitional field behavior. For recent field models, P-i ranges from less than 0.05 to 0.30. Conventional definitions for geomagnetic excursions are characterized by P-i exceeding 0.5. Strong field intensities are associated with low P-i unless they are accompanied by large deviations from axial dipole field directions. sigma P-i provides a measure of geomagnetic stability that is modulated by the level of PSV or frequency of excursional activity and reversal rate. We demonstrate uses of P-i for paleomagnetic observations and field models and show how it could be used to assess whether numerical simulations of the geodynamo exhibit Earth-like properties.

Constable, CG, Tauxe L, Parker RL.  1998.  Analysis of 11 Myr of geomagnetic intensity variation. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 103:17735-17748.   10.1029/98jb01519   AbstractWebsite

We have conducted a detailed exploratory analysis of an II million year long almost continuous record of relative geomagnetic paleointensity from a sediment core acquired on Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 73, at Site 522 in the South Atlantic. We assess the quality of the paleointensity record using spectral methods and conclude that the relative intensity record is minimally influenced by climate variations. Isothermal remanence is shown to be the most effective normalizer for these data, although both susceptibility and anhysteretic remanence are also adequate. Statistical analysis shows that the paleointensity variations follow a gamma distribution, and are compatible with predictions from modified paleosecular variation models and global absolute paleointensity data. When subdivided by polarity interval, the variability in paleointensity is proportional to the average, and further, the average is weakly correlated with interval length. Spectral estimates for times from 28.77 until 22.74 Ma, when the reversal rate is about 4 Myr(-1), are compatible with a Poisson model in which the spectrum of intensity variations is dominated by the reversal process in the frequency range 1-50 Mgr(-1) In contrast, between 34.7 and 29.4 Ma, when the reversal rate is about 1.6 Myr(-1), the spectra indicate a different secular variation regime. The magnetic field is stronger, and more variable, and a strong peak in the spectrum occurs at about 8 Myr(-1). This peak magi be a reflection of the same signal as recorded by the small variations known as tiny wiggles seen in marine magnetic anomaly profiles.

McMillan, DG, Constable CG, Parker RL.  2004.  Assessing the dipolar signal in stacked paleointensity records using a statistical error model and geodynamo simulations. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 145:37-54.   10.1016/j.pepi.2004.02.011   AbstractWebsite

Stacks of globally distributed relative paleointensity records from sediment cores are used to study temporal variations in the strength of the geomagnetic dipole. We assess the intrinsic accuracy and resolution of such stacks, which may be limited by errors in paleointensity, non-dipole field contributions, and the age scales assigned to each sediment core. Our approach employs two types of simulations. Numerical geodynamo models generate accurate predictions of time series of magnetic variations anywhere in the world. The predicted variations are then degraded using an appropriate statistical model to simulate expected age and paleointensity errors. A series of experiments identify the major contributors to error and loss of resolution in the resulting stacks. The statistical model simulates rock magnetic and measurement errors in paleointensity, and age errors due to finite sampling and approximations inherent in interpolation, incomplete or inaccurate tie point information, and sedimentation rate variations. Data sampling and interpolation to a designated age scale cause substantial decorrelation, and control the maximum level of agreement attainable between completely accurate records. The particular method of interpolation appears to have little effect on the coherence between accurate records, but denser tie point data improve the agreement. Age errors decorrelate geomagnetic signals, usually at shorter periods, although they can destroy coherence over a broad range of periods. The poor correlation between neighboring paleomagnetic records often observed in real data can be accounted for by age errors of moderate magnitude. In a global dataset of 20 records, modeled after the SINT800 compilation and spanning 300 kyr, our results show that dipole variations with periods longer than about 20 kyr can be recovered by the stacking process. Reasonable contributions to error in the paleointensity itself have a modest influence on the result, as do non-dipole field contributions whose effect is minor at periods longer than 10 kyr. Modest errors in the ages of tie points probably account for most of the degradation in geomagnetic signal. Stacked sedimentary paleomagnetic records can be improved by denser temporal sampling and careful selection of independent high-quality tie points. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Constable, C, Parker R.  1991.  Deconvolution of Long-Core Paleomagnetic Measurements - Spline Therapy for the Linear Problem. Geophysical Journal International. 104:453-468.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.1991.tb05693.x   AbstractWebsite

The magnetization of long cores of sedimentary material is often measured in a pass-through magnetometer, whose output is the convolution of the desired function with the broad impulse response of the system. Because of inevitable measurement noise and the inherent poor conditioning of the inverse problem, any attempt to estimate the true magnetization function from the observations must avoid unnecessary amplification of small-scale features which would otherwise dominate the model with deceptively large undulations. We propose the construction of the smoothest possible magnetization model satisfying the measured data to within the observational error. By means of a cubic spline basis in the representations of both the unknown magnetization and the empirically measured response, we facilitate the imposition of maximum smoothness on the unknown magnetization. For our purposes, the smoothest model is the one with the smallest 2-norm of the second derivative, the same criterion used in the construction of cubic spline interpolators. The approach is tested on a marine core that was subsequently sectioned and measured in centimetre-sized individual specimens, with highly satisfactory results. An empirical estimate of the resolution of the method indicates a three-fold improvement in the processed record over the original signal. We illuminate the behaviour of the numerical scheme by showing the relation between our smoothness-maximizing procedure and a more conventional filtering approach. Our solution can indeed be approximated by convolution with a special set of weights, although the approximation may be poor near the ends of the core. In an idealized system we study the question of convergence of the deconvolution process, by whether the model magnetization approaches the true one when the experimental error and other system parameters are held constant, while the spacing between observations is allowed to become arbitrarily small. We find our procedure does in fact converge (under certain conditions) but only at a logarithmic rate. This suggests that further significant improvement in resolution cannot be achieved by increased measurement density or enhanced observational accuracy.

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Lowe, DAJ, Parker RL, Purucker ME, Constable CG.  2001.  Estimating the crustal power spectrum from vector Magsat data. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 106:8589-8598.   10.1029/2000jb900437   AbstractWebsite

The Earth's magnetic field can be subdivided into core and crustal components and we seek to characterize the crustal part through its spatial power spectrum, R-1. We process vector Magsat data to isolate the crustal field and then invert power spectral densities of flight-local components along-track for R-1 following O'Brien et al. [1999]. Our model, designated LPPC, is accurate up to approximately spherical harmonic degree 45 (lambda = 900 km): this is the resolution limit of our data and suggests that global crustal anomaly maps constructed from vector Magsat data should not contain features with wavelengths less than 900 km. We find continental power spectra to be greater than oceanic ones and attribute this to the relative thicknesses of continental and oceanic crust.

Panovska, S, Constable CG, Korte M.  2018.  Extending global continuous geomagnetic field reconstructions on timescales beyond human civilization. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 19:4757-4772.   10.1029/2018gc007966   AbstractWebsite

Study of the late Quaternary geomagnetic field contributes significantly to understanding the origin of millennial-scale paleomagnetic secular variations, the structure of geomagnetic excursions, and the long-term shielding by the geomagnetic field. A compilation of paleomagnetic sediment records and archeomagnetic and lava flow data covering the past 100ka enables reconstruction of the global geomagnetic field on such long-term scales. We use regularized inversion to build the first global, time-dependent, geomagnetic field model spanning the past 100ka, named GGF100k (Global Geomagnetic Field over the past 100 ka). Spatial parametrization of the model is in spherical harmonics and time variations with cubic splines. The model is heavily constrained by more than 100 continuous sediment records covering extended periods of time, which strongly prevail over the limited number of discrete snapshots provided by archeomagnetic and volcanic data. Following an assessment of temporal resolution in each sediment's magnetic record, we have introduced smoothing kernels into the forward modeling when assessing data misfit. This accommodates the smoothing inherent in the remanence acquisition in individual sediment paleomagnetic records, facilitating a closer fit to both high- and low-resolution records in regions where some sediments have variable temporal resolutions. The model has similar spatial resolution but less temporal complexity than current Holocene geomagnetic field models. Using the new reconstruction, we discuss dipole moment variations, the time-averaged field, and paleomagnetic secular variation activity. The new GGF100k model fills the gap in the geomagnetic power spectrum in the frequency range 100-1,000Ma(-1).

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Backus, G, Parker RL, Constable C.  1996.  Foundations of geomagnetism. :xiv,369p.., Cambridge England ; New York: Cambridge University Press AbstractWebsite

The main magnetic field of the Earth is a complex phenomenon. To understand its origins in the fluid of the Earth's core, and how it changes in time requires a variety of mathematical and physical tools. This book presents the foundations of geomagnetism, in detail and developed from first principles. The book is based on George Backus' courses for graduate students at the University of California, San Diego. The material is mathematically rigorous, but is logically developed and has consistent notation, making it accessible to a broad range of readers. The book starts with an overview of the phenomena of interest in geomagnetism, and then goes on to deal with the phenomena in detail, building the necessary techniques in a thorough and consistent manner. Students and researchers will find this book to be an invaluable resource in the appreciation of the mathematical and physical foundations of geomagnetism.

Backus, G, Parker RL, Constable C.  2005.  Foundations of geomagnetism. :xiv,369p.., Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press AbstractWebsite
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Obrien, MS, Constable CG, Parker RL.  1997.  Frozen-flux modelling for epochs 1915 and 1980. Geophysical Journal International. 128:434-450.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.1997.tb01566.x   AbstractWebsite

The frozen-flux hypothesis for the Earth's liquid core assumes that convective terms dominate diffusive terms in the induction equation governing the behaviour of the magnetic field at the surface of the core. While highly plausible on the basis of estimates of physical parameters, the hypothesis has been questioned in recent work by Bloxham, Gubbins & Jackson (1989) who find it to be inconsistent with their field models for most of the century. To study this question we improve the method of Constable, Parker & Stark (1993), which tests the consistency of magnetic observations with the hypothesis by constructing simple, flux-conserving core-field models fitting the data at pairs of epochs. We introduce a new approach that fixes the patch configurations at each of the two epochs before inversion, so that each configuration is consistent with its respective data set but possesses the same patch topology. We expand upon the inversion algorithm, using quadratic programming to maintain the proper flux sign within patches; the modelling calculations are also extended to include data types that depend non-linearly on the model. Every test of a hypothesis depends on the characterization of the observational uncertainties; we undertake a thorough review of this question. For main-field models, the primary source of uncertainty comes from the crustal field. We base our analysis on one of Jackson's (1994) statistical models of the crustal magnetization, adjusted to bring it into better conformity with our data set. The noise model permits us to take into account the correlations between the measurements and requires that a different weighting be given to horizontal and vertical components. It also indicates that the observations should be fit more closely than has been the practice heretofore. We apply the revised method to Magsat data from 1980 and survey and observatory data from 1915.5, two data sets believed to be particularly difficult to reconcile with the frozen-flux hypothesis. We compute a pair of simple, flux-conserving models that fit the averaged data from each epoch. We therefore conclude that present knowledge of the geomagnetic fields of 1980 and 1915.5 is consistent with the frozen-flux hypothesis.

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Brown, MC, Donadini F, Nilsson A, Panovska S, Frank U, Korhonen K, Schuberth M, Korte M, Constable CG.  2015.  GEOMAGIA50.v3: 2. A new paleomagnetic database for lake and marine sediments. Earth Planets and Space. 67   10.1186/s40623-015-0233-z   AbstractWebsite

Background: GEOMAGIA50.v3 for sediments is a comprehensive online database providing access to published paleomagnetic, rock magnetic, and chronological data obtained from lake and marine sediments deposited over the past 50 ka. Its objective is to catalogue data that will improve our understanding of changes in the geomagnetic field, physical environments, and climate. Findings: GEOMAGIA50.v3 for sediments builds upon the structure of the pre-existing GEOMAGIA50 database for magnetic data from archeological and volcanic materials. A strong emphasis has been placed on the storage of geochronological data, and it is the first magnetic archive that includes comprehensive radiocarbon age data from sediments. The database will be updated as new sediment data become available. Conclusions: The web-based interface for the sediment database is located at http://geomagia.gfz-potsdam.de/geomagiav3/SDquery.php. This paper is a companion to Brown et al. (Earth Planets Space doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0232-0,2015) and describes the data types, structure, and functionality of the sediment database.

Constable, CG, Parker RL, Stark PB.  1993.  Geomagnetic-Field Models Incorporating Frozen-Flux Constraints. Geophysical Journal International. 113:419-433.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.1993.tb00897.x   AbstractWebsite

Techniques for modelling the geomagnetic field at the surface of Earth's core often penalize contributions at high spherical harmonic degrees to reduce the effect of mapping crustal fields into the resulting field model at the core-mantle boundary (CMB). Ambiguity in separating the observed field into crustal and core contributions makes it difficult to assign error bounds to core field models, and this makes it hard to test hypotheses that involve pointwise values of the core field. The frozen-flux hypothesis, namely that convective terms dominate diffusive terms in the magnetic-induction equation, requires that the magnetic flux through every patch on the core surrounded by a zero contour of the radial magnetic field remains constant, although the shapes, areas and locations (but not the topology) of these patches may change with time. Field models exactly satisfying the conditions necessary for the hypothesis have not yet been constructed for the early part of this century. We show that such models must exist, so testing the frozen-flux hypothesis becomes the question of whether the models satisfying it are geophysically unsatisfactory on other grounds, for example because they are implausibly rough or complicated. We introduce an algorithm to construct plausible fleld models satisfying the hypothesis, and present such models for epochs 1945.5 and 1980. Our algorithm is based on a new parametrization of the field in terms of its radial component B(r) at the CMB. The model consists of values of B(r) at a finite set of points on the CMB, together with a rule for interpolating the values to other points. The interpolation rule takes the specified points to be the vertices of a spherical triangle tessellation of the CMB, with B(r) varying linearly in the gnomonic projections of the spherical triangles onto planar triangles in the planes tangent to the centroids of the spherical triangles. This parametrization of B(r) provides a direct means of constraining the integral invariants required by the frozen-flux hypothesis. Using this parametrization, we have constructed field models satisfying the frozen-flux hypothesis for epochs 1945.5 and 1980, while fitting observatory and survey data for 1945.5 and Magsat data for 1980. We use the better constrained 1980 CMB field model as a reference for 1945.5: we minimize the departure of the 1945.5 CMB field model from a regularized 1980 CMB field model, while constraining the 1945.5 model to have the same null-flux curves and flux through those curves as the 1980 model. The locations, areas and shapes of the curves are allowed to change. The resulting 1945.5 CMB field model is nearly as smooth as that for 1980, fits the data adequately, and satisfies the conditions necessary for the frozen-flux hypothesis.

Panovska, S, Constable CG, Brown MC.  2018.  Global and regional assessments of paleosecular variation activity over the past 100 ka. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 19:1559-1580.   10.1029/2017gc007271   AbstractWebsite

We present a global compilation of paleomagnetic data spanning the past 100 ka. Sediment data comprise 61,687 declinations, 70,936 inclinations, and 69,596 relative paleointensities. Many sites are located in the northern Atlantic and western Pacific, with approximately twice as many data from the Northern Hemisphere as from the Southern Hemisphere. The 14,954 volcanic and archeomagnetic data are sparse, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. Directional and intensity information are aggregated under the paleosecular variation (PSV) index to assess occurrence of excursions over the past 100 ka. The Laschamp excursion (approximate to 41 ka) is clearly defined across globally distributed sediment records with an average duration of 1,300 years. Regional stacks obtained using bootstrap resampling show a more pronounced Laschamp excursion in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern, and in the Atlantic Hemisphere compared with the Pacific. No anomalous indices occurred around the Mono Lake excursion or other periods in the bootstrap curves. This may result from low sedimentation rates, discrepancies in age scales, large age errors, and/or the lack of global character of any transitional events. These data and associated new uncertainty estimates for the sediment records provide a good foundation for global, time-dependent, spherical harmonic field modeling for the past 100 ka.

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Cromwell, G, Tauxe L, Staudigel H, Constable CG, Koppers AAP, Pedersen RB.  2013.  In search of long-term hemispheric asymmetry in the geomagnetic field : Results from high northern latitudes. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 14:3234-3249.   10.1002/ggge.20174   AbstractWebsite

Investigations of the behavior of the geomagnetic field on geological timescales rely on globally distributed data sets from dated lava flows. We present the first suitable data from the Arctic region, comprising 37 paleomagnetic directions from Jan Mayen (71 degrees N, 0.2-461 ka) and Spitsbergen (79 degrees N, 1-9.2 Ma) and five paleointensity results. Dispersion of the Arctic virtual geomagnetic poles over the last 2 Ma (27.34.0 degrees) is significantly lower than that from published Antarctic data sets (32.15.0 degrees). Arctic average virtual axial dipole moment (76.824.3 ZAm(2)) is high in comparison to Antarctica over the same time interval (34.88.2 ZAm(2)), although the data are still too sparse in the Arctic to be definitive. These data support a long-lived hemispheric asymmetry of the magnetic field, contrasting higher, more stable fields in the north with lower average strength and more variable field directions in the south. Such features require significant non-axial-dipole contributions over 10(5)-10(6) years.

RygaardHjalsted, C, Constable CG, Parker RL.  1997.  The influence of correlated crustal signals in modelling the main geomagnetic field. Geophysical Journal International. 130:717-726.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.1997.tb01866.x   AbstractWebsite

Algorithms used in geomagnetic main-field modelling have for the most part treated the noise in the field measurements as if it were white. A major component of the noise consists of the field due to magnetization in the crust and it has been realized for some time that such signals are highly correlated at satellite altitude. Hence approximation by white noise, while of undoubted utility, is of unknown validity. Langel, Estes & Sabaka (1989) were the first to evaluate the influence of correlations in the crustal magnetic field on main-field models. In this paper we study two plausible statistical models for the crustal magnetization described by Jackson (1994), in which the magnetization is a realization of a stationary, isotropic, random process. At a typical satellite altitude the associated fields exhibit significant correlation over ranges as great as 15 degrees or more, which introduces off-diagonal elements into the covariance matrix, elements that have usually been neglected in modelling procedures. Dealing with a full covariance matrix for a large data set would present a formidable computational challenge, brit fortunately most of the entries in the covariance matrix are so small that they can be replaced by zeros. The resultant matrix comprises only about 3 per cent non-zero entries and thus we can take advantage of efficient sparse matrix techniques to solve the numerical system. We construct several main-field models based on vertical-component data from a selected 5 degrees by 5 degrees data set derived from the Magsat mission. Models with and without off-diagonal terms are compared. For one of the two Jackson crustal models, k(3), we find significant changes in the main-field coefficients, with maximum discrepancies near degree 11 of about 27 per cent. The second crustal spectrum gives rise to much smaller effects for the data set used here, because the correlation lengths are typically shorter than the data spacing. k(4) also significantly underpredicts the observed magnetic spectrum around degree 15. We conclude that there is no difficulty in computing main-field models that include off-diagonal terms in the covariance matrix when sparse matrix techniques are employed; we find that there may be important effects in the computed models, particularly if we wish to make full use of dense data sets. Until a definitive crustal field spectrum has been determined, the precise size of the effect remains uncertain. Obtaining such a statistical model should be a high priority in preparation for the analysis of future low-noise satellite data.

Jackson, A, Parker RL, Sambridge M, Constable C, Wolf AS.  2018.  The inverse problem of unpolarized infrared spectroscopy of geological materials: Estimation from noisy random sampling of a quadratic form. American Mineralogist. 103:1176-1184.   10.2138/am-2018-6152   AbstractWebsite

We address the problem of unpolarized light spectroscopy of geological materials. Using infrared radiation, the aim of this technique is to learn about the absorbing species, such as hydroxyl. The use of unoriented samples leads to the need to perform a rigorous statistical analysis, so that the three principal absorbances of the crystal can be retrieved. We present here such an analysis based on a derivation of the probability density function for a single random measurement. Previous methods for retrieval of the absorbances are shown to be suboptimal, producing biased results that are sometimes even unphysical (e.g., negative estimates for an inherently positive quantity). The mathematical structure of the problem is developed to use the maximum likelihood estimation method, and we show how to optimize for the three absorbance parameters. This leads to good parameter retrieval on both synthetic and real data sets.

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Panovska, S, Korte M, Finlay CC, Constable CG.  2015.  Limitations in paleomagnetic data and modelling techniques and their impact on Holocene geomagnetic field models. Geophysical Journal International. 202:402-418.   10.1093/gji/ggv137   AbstractWebsite

Characterization of geomagnetic field behaviour on timescales of centuries to millennia is necessary to understand the mechanisms that sustain the geodynamo and drive its evolution. As Holocene paleomagnetic and archeomagnetic data have become more abundant, strategies for regularized inversion of modern field data have been adapted to produce numerous time-varying global field models. We evaluate the effectiveness of several approaches to inversion and data handling, by assessing both global and regional properties of the resulting models. Global Holocene field models cannot resolve Southern hemisphere regional field variations without the use of sediments. A standard data set is used to construct multiple models using two different strategies for relative paleointensity calibration and declination orientation and a selection of starting models in the inversion procedure. When data uncertainties are considered, the results are similar overall regardless of whether we use iterative calibration and reorientation, or co-estimation of the calibration and orientation parameters as part of the inversion procedure. In each case the quality of the starting model used for initial relative paleointensity calibration and declination orientation is crucial and must be based on the best absolute information available. Without adequate initial calibration the morphology of dipole moment variations can be recovered but its absolute value will be correlated with the initial intensity calibrations, an effect that might be mitigated by ensuring an appropriate fit to enough high quality absolute intensity data with low uncertainties. The declination reorientation mainly impacts regional field structure and in the presence of non-zonal fields will result in a non-zero local average. The importance of declination orientation is highlighted by inconsistencies in the West Pacific and Australian sediment records in CALS10k.1b model. Great care must also be taken to assess uncertainties associated with both paleomagnetic and age data and to evaluate the effects of poor data distribution. New consistently allocated uncertainty estimates for sediment paleomagnetic records highlight the importance of adequate uncertainties in the inversion process, as they determine the relative weighting among the data and overall normalized misfit levels which in turn influence the complexity of the inferred field models. Residual distributions suggest that the most appropriate misfit measure is the L-1 norm (minimum absolute deviation) rather than L-2 (least squares), but this seems to have relatively minor impact on the overall results. For future Holocene field modelling we see a need for comprehensive methods to assess uncertainty in individual archeomagnetic data so that these data or models derived from them can be used for reliable initial relative paleointensity calibration and declination orientation in sediments. More work will be needed to assess whether co-estimation or an iterative approach to inversion is more efficient overall. This would be facilitated by realistic and globally consistent data and age uncertainties from the paleomagnetic community.

McMillan, DG, Constable CG, Parker RL.  2002.  Limitations on stratigraphic analyses due to incomplete age control and their relevance to sedimentary paleomagnetism. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 201:509-523.   10.1016/s0012-821x(02)00747-1   AbstractWebsite

A major limitation in the analysis of physical quantities measured from a stratigraphic core is incomplete knowledge of the depth to age relationship for the core. Records derived from diverse locations are often compared or combined to construct records that represent a global signal. Time series analysis of individual or combined records is commonly employed to seek quasi-periodic components or characterize the timescales of relevant physical processes. Assumptions that are frequently made in the approximation of depth to age relationships can have a dramatic and harmful effect on the spectral content of records from stratigraphic cores. A common procedure for estimating ages in a set of samples from a stratigraphic core is to assign, based on complementary data, the ages at a number of depths (tie points) and then assume a uniform accumulation rate between the tie points. Imprecisely dated or misidentified tie points and naturally varying accumulation rates give rise to discrepancies between the inferred and the actual ages of a sample. We develop a statistical model for age uncertainties in stratigraphic cores that treats the true, but in practice unknown, ages of core samples as random variables. For inaccuracies in the ages of tie points, we draw the error from a zero-mean normal distribution. For a variable accumulation rate, we require the actual ages of a sequence of samples to be monotonically increasing and the age errors to have the form of a Brownian bridge. That is, the errors are zero at the tie points. The actual ages are modeled by integrating a piecewise constant, randomly varying accumulation rate. In each case, our analysis yields closed form expressions for the expected value and variance of resulting errors in age at any depth in the core. By Monte Carlo simulation with plausible parameters, we find that age errors across a paleomagnetic record due to misdated tie points are likely of the same order as the tie point discrepancies. Those due to accumulation rate variations can be as large as 30 kyr, but are probably less than 10 kyr. We provide a method by which error estimates like these can be made for similar stratigraphic dating problems and apply our statistical model to an idealized marine sedimentary paleomagnetic record. Both types of errors severely degrade the spectral content of the inferred record. We quantify these effects using realistic tie point ages, their uncertainties and depositional parameters. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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O'Brien, MS, Parker RL, Constable CG.  1999.  Magnetic power spectrum of the ocean crust on large scales. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 104:29189-29201.   10.1029/1999jb900302   AbstractWebsite

The geomagnetic power spectrum R-l is the squared magnetic field in each spherical harmonic degree averaged over a spherical surface. Satellite measurements have given reliable estimates of the spectrum for the part that originates in the core, but above I = 15, where the geomagnetic field arises primarily from crustal magnetization, there is considerable disagreement between various estimates derived from observation. Furthermore, several theoretical models for the spectrum disagree with each other and the data. We have examined observations from a different source, 5000-km-long Project Magnet aeromagnetic survey lines; we make new estimates of the spectrum which overlap with the wavelength interval accessible to the satellites. The usual way the spectrum is derived from observation is to construct a large spherical harmonic decomposition first, then square, weight, and add the Gauss coefficients in each degree, but this method cannot be applied to isolated flight lines. Instead, we apply a statistical technique based on an idea of McLeod and Coleman which relates the geomagnetic spectrum to the power and cross spectra of magnetic field components measured on the survey lines. Power spectra from the 17 aeromagnetic surveys, all of which were conducted over the oceans, are averaged together to improve geographic coverage and reduce variance, and the average spectra are then inverted for the geomagnetic spectrum R-l. Like most of the theoretical models, our spectrum exhibits a maximum, but at a wavelength of 100 km, about a factor of 2 smaller than the closest theoretical prediction. Our spectrum agrees quite well with the most recent estimates based on satellite observations in the range 20 less than or equal to l less than or equal to 50, but above l=50, our values increase slowly, while all the satellite data suggest a sharply rising curve. In this wavelength range we believe our measurements are more trustworthy. Further work is planned to confirm the accuracy of our spectrum when continental survey paths are included.

Jackson, A, Constable CG, Walker MR, Parker RL.  2007.  Models of Earth's main magnetic field incorporating flux and radial vorticity constraints. Geophysical Journal International. 171:133-144.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03526.x   AbstractWebsite

We describe a new technique for implementing the constraints on magnetic fields arising from two hypotheses about the fluid core of the Earth, namely the frozen-flux hypothesis and the hypothesis that the core is in magnetostrophic force balance with negligible leakage of current into the mantle. These hypotheses lead to time-independence of the integrated flux through certain 'null-flux patches' on the core surface, and to time-independence of their radial vorticity. Although the frozen-flux hypothesis has received attention before, constraining the radial vorticity has not previously been attempted. We describe a parametrization and an algorithm for preserving topology of radial magnetic fields at the core surface while allowing morphological changes. The parametrization is a spherical triangle tesselation of the core surface. Topology with respect to a reference model (based on data from the Oersted satellite) is preserved as models at different epochs are perturbed to optimize the fit to the data; the topology preservation is achieved by the imposition of inequality constraints on the model, and the optimization at each iteration is cast as a bounded value least-squares problem. For epochs 2000, 1980, 1945, 1915 and 1882 we are able to produce models of the core field which are consistent with flux and radial vorticity conservation, thus providing no observational evidence for the failure of the underlying assumptions. These models are a step towards the production of models which are optimal for the retrieval of frozen-flux velocity fields at the core surface.

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Cronin, M, Tauxe L, Constable C, Selkin P, Pick T.  2001.  Noise in the quiet zone. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 190:13-30.   10.1016/s0012-821x(01)00354-5   AbstractWebsite

We have carried out a detailed paleomagnetic investigation of two stratigraphically overlapping sections from the Scaglia Bianca Formation (similar to 85-89.5 Ma) in the Umbria-Marche area in central Italy. Sampling was conducted over 32 in and 7 in intervals at La Roccaccia and Furlo respectively. After AF cleaning the majority of specimens show the expected normal magnetic field orientation, however a number of specimens are directionally anomalous. Some of these deviant specimens are accompanied by apparent spikes or dips in normalized intensity. A detailed investigation of rock magnetics shows that most of these deviations are not a sign of excursionary geomagnetic field behavior, but rather correspond to specimens with distinct rock magnetic characteristics and are therefore rock magnetic 'noise'. Such specimens should not be interpreted as records of the geomagnetic field. Our experience suggests that detailed rock magnetic and magnetic fabric analysis should be done on all anomalous directions prior to interpreting them as geomagnetic field behavior. After elimination of rock magnetic noise in the Scaglia Bianca data sets, there is a high degree of agreement in direction and to a lesser extent relative intensity between correlative portions of the two sections. We therefore offer this data set as a robust record of geomagnetic field behavior during the 4.5 Myr interval represented by the La Roccaccia section. A statistical analysis of the relative intensity observations suggests that this period of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron is characterized by a normalized variability in paleointensity (standard deviation about 28% of the mean value) that is significantly lower than seen during the Oligocene over intervals in which reversals or tiny wiggles occur (typically about 50%). The directional stability results in virtual geomagnetic pole dispersion compatible with that found in volcanic rocks from around the same latitude and ranging in age from 80 to 110 Ma. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Constable, SC, Parker RL, Constable CG.  1987.  OCCAMS Inversion - A Practical Algorithm for Generating Smooth Models From Electromagnetic Sounding Data. Geophysics. 52:289-300.   10.1190/1.1442303   AbstractWebsite

The inversion of electromagnetic sounding data does not yield a unique solution, but inevitably a single model to interpret the observations is sought. We recommend that this model be as simple, or smooth, as possible, in order to reduce the temptation to overinterpret the data and to eliminate arbitrary discontinuities in simple layered models. To obtain smooth models, the nonlinear forward problem is linearized about a starting model in the usual way, but it is then solved explicitly for the desired model rather than for a model correction. By parameterizing the model in terms of its first or second derivative with depth, the minimum norm solution yields the smoothest possible model. Rather than fitting the experimental data as well as possible (which maximizes the roughness of the model), the smoothest model which fits the data to within an expected tolerance is sought. A practical scheme is developed which optimizes the step size at each iteration and retains the computational efficiency of layered models, resulting in a stable and rapidly convergent algorithm. The inversion of both magnetotelluric and Schlumberger sounding field data, and a joint magnetotelluric‐resistivity inversion, demonstrate the method and show it to have practical application.

Olsen, N, Holme R, Hulot G, Sabaka T, Neubert T, Toffner-Clausen L, Primdahl F, Jorgensen J, Leger JM, Barraclough D, Bloxham J, Cain J, Constable C, Golovkov V, Jackson A, Kotze P, Langlais B, Macmillan S, Mandea M, Merayo J, Newitt L, Purucker M, Risbo T, Stampe M, Thomson A, Voorhies C.  2000.  Orsted initial field model. Geophysical Research Letters. 27:3607-3610.   10.1029/2000gl011930   AbstractWebsite

Magnetic measurements taken by the Orsted satellite during geomagnetic quiet conditions around January 1, 2000 have been used to derive a spherical harmonic model of the Earth's magnetic field for epoch 2000.0. The maximum degree and order of the model is 19 for internal, and 2 for external, source fields; however, coefficients above degree 14 may not be robust. Such a detailed model exists for only one previous epoch, 1980. Achieved rms misfit is < 2 nT for the scalar intensity and < 3 nT for one of the vector components perpendicular to the magnetic field. For scientific purposes related to the Orsted mission, this model supercedes IGRF 2000.

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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.   10.1016/j.epsl.2016.08.015   AbstractWebsite

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 10000 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. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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Korte, M, Brown MC, Gunnarson SR, Nilsson A, Panovska S, Wardinski I, Constable CG.  2019.  Refining Holocene geochronologies using palaeomagnetic records. Quaternary Geochronology. 50:47-74.   10.1016/j.quageo.2018.11.004   AbstractWebsite

The aperiodic nature of geomagnetic field variations, both in intensity and direction, can aid in dating archaeological artefacts, volcanic rocks, and sediment records that carry a palaeomagnetic signal. The success of palaeomagnetic dating relies upon our knowledge of past field variations at specific locations. Regional archaeo- and palaeomagnetic reference curves and predictions from global geomagnetic field models provide our best description of field variations through the Holocene. State-of-the-art palaeomagnetic laboratory practices and accurate independent age controls are prerequisites for deriving reliable reference curves and models from archaeological, volcanic, and sedimentary palaeomagnetic data. In this review paper we give an overview of these prerequisites and the available reference curves and models, discuss techniques for palaeomagnetic dating, and outline its limitations. In particular, palaeomagnetic dating on its own cannot give unique results, but rather serves to refine or confirm ages obtained by other methods. Owing to the non-uniform character of magnetic field variations in different regions, care is required when choosing a palaeomagnetic dating curve, so that the distance between the dating curve and the record to be dated is not too large. Accurate reporting and incorporation of new, independently dated archaeo- and palaeomagnetic results into databases will help to improve reference curves and global models for all regions on Earth.

Korte, M, Constable CG, Parker RL.  2002.  Revised magnetic power spectrum of the oceanic crust. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 107   10.1029/2001jb001389   AbstractWebsite

[1] The magnetic field originating within the Earth can be divided into core and crustal components, which can be characterized by the geomagnetic power spectrum. While the core spectrum is determined quite well by satellite studies, models of the shorter wavelength crustal spectrum disagree considerably. We reexamine aeromagnetic data used by O'Brien et al. [1999] to obtain a new, improved estimate of the crustal geomagnetic power spectrum. O'Brien et al. 's model somewhat failed to give a satisfactory connection between the longer-wavelength satellite studies and a reliable crustal model. We show that this was caused by an inadequate processing step that aimed to remove external variations from the data. We moreover attempt to bound the long-wavelength part of the spectrum using constraints of monotonicity in the correlation of the magnetization. However, this proves to be a weak constraint. Reversing the process, though, we are able to evaluate the correlation function using the reliable part of our geomagnetic spectrum. Thus we can obtain a sensible estimate for the long-wavelength part of the spectrum that is not well constrained by the data. Our new model shows better agreement with earlier satellite studies and can be considered reliable in the spherical harmonic degree range l = 30 to 1200.