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Avery, MS, Gee JS, Bowles JA, Jackson MJ.  2018.  Paleointensity estimates from ignimbrites: The Bishop Tuff Revisited. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 19:3811-3831.   10.1029/2018gc007665   AbstractWebsite

Volcanic ash flow tuffs (ignimbrites) may contain single domain-sized (titano) magnetite that should be good for recording geomagnetic field intensity, but due to their complex thermal histories also contain other magnetic grains, which can complicate and obscure paleointensity determination. An initial study of the suitability of the similar to 767ka Bishop Tuff for measuring paleointensity found an internally consistent estimate of 43.03.2T. This initial study also showed a spatial heterogeneity in reliable paleointensity estimates that is possibly associated with vapor-phase alteration and fumarolic activity, which motivated resampling of the Bishop Tuff to examine spatial changes in magnetic properties. Three new stratigraphic sections of the Bishop Tuff within the Owens River gorge were sampled, and the paleointensity results from the initial study in the same locality were reinterpreted. The mean of all sites is 41.911.8T; this agrees with the initial study's finding but with substantially greater scatter. Two sections show evidence of vapor-phase alteration where the presence of titanohematite, likely carrying a thermochemical remanence, produces nonideal behavior. This thermochemical remanence in the upper portion of the section also produces some paleointensity estimates of technically high quality that have significantly higher intensity than the rest of the tuff. Our best estimate for paleointensity, 39.69.9T, comes from the densely welded ignimbrite that was emplaced above the Curie temperature of magnetite. The low permeability of this unit likely shielded it from vapor-phase alteration. Our results suggest that care must be taken in interpreting paleointensity data from large tuffs as nonthermal remanence may be present. Understanding past variations of Earth's magnetic field help us understand processes in Earth's core and help us to better understand current field behavior, which is important to life on Earth. Earth's field is recorded by magnetic-minerals in rocks as they form. Variations in the strength of the magnetic field (paleointensity) are less well known than large variations in direction. This is partially due to the difficulty in identifying rocks that are suitable for paleointensity experiments. Rocks made of volcanic ash (ignimbrites) have been shown to successfully record the field strength during recent volcanic eruptions. However, we show evidence that ignimbrites may not all be suitable for paleointensity studies. The Bishop Tuff, located in eastern California, erupted about 767 thousand years ago, emplacing a large volume (similar to 200km(3), i.e., about 80 million Olympic swimming pools or slightly bigger than Lake Tahoe) of ash and lava over a few days. With samples from the Bishop Tuff we test variations in magnetic-mineralogy that may be related to venting volcanic gas, interaction with water, eruption temperatures, or the degree to which the ash compacted and solidified into rock. These factors affect the magnetic-minerals' ability to record paleointensity and the success rate of our experiments.

Avery, MS, Gee JS, Constable CG.  2017.  Asymmetry in growth and decay of the geomagnetic dipole revealed in seafloor magnetization. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 467:79-88.   10.1016/j.epsl.2017.03.020   AbstractWebsite

Geomagnetic intensity fluctuations provide important constraints on time-scales associated with dynamical processes in the outer core. PADM2M is a reconstructed time series of the 0-2 Ma axial dipole moment (ADM). After smoothing to reject high frequency variations PADM2M's average growth rate is larger than its decay rate. The observed asymmetry in rates of change is compatible with longer term diffusive decay of the ADM balanced by advective growth on shorter time scales, and provides a potentially useful diagnostic for evaluating numerical geodynamo simulations. We re-analyze the PADM2M record using improved low-pass filtering to identify asymmetry and quantify its uncertainty via bootstrap methods before applying the new methodology to other kinds of records. Asymmetry in distribution of axial dipole moment derivatives is quantified using the geomagnetic skewness coefficient, sg. A positive value indicates the distribution has a longer positive tail and the average growth rate is greater than the average decay rate. The original asymmetry noted by Ziegler and Constable (2011) is significant and does not depend on the specifics of the analysis. A long-term record of geomagnetic intensity should also be preserved in the thermoremanent magnetization of oceanic crust recovered by inversion of stacked profiles of marine magnetic anomalies. These provide an independent means of verifying the asymmetry seen in PADM2M. We examine three near bottom surveys: a 0 to 780 ka record from the East Pacific Rise at 19 degrees S, a 0 to 5.2 Ma record from the Pacific Antarctic Ridge at 51 degrees S, and a chron C4Ar-C5r (9.3-11.2 Ma) record from the NE Pacific. All three records show an asymmetry similar in sense to PADM2M with geomagnetic skewness coefficients, s(g) > 0. Results from PADM2M and C4Ar-C5r are most robust, reflecting the higher quality of these geomagnetic records. Our results confirm that marine magnetic anomalies can carry a record of the asymmetric geomagnetic field behavior first found for 0-2 Ma in PADM2M, and show that it was also present during the earlier time interval from 9.3-11.2 Ma. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Bowles, JA, Gee JS, Jackson MJ, Avery MS.  2015.  Geomagnetic paleointensity in historical pyroclastic density currents: Testing the effects of emplacement temperature and postemplacement alteration. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 16:3607-3625.   10.1002/2015gc005910   AbstractWebsite

Thellier-type paleointensity experiments were conducted on welded ash matrix or pumice from the 1912 Novarupta (NV) and 1980 Mt. St. Helens (MSH) pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) with the intention of evaluating their suitability for geomagnetic paleointensity studies. PDCs are common worldwide, but can have complicated thermal and alteration histories. We attempt to address the role that emplacement temperature and postemplacement hydrothermal alteration may play in nonideal paleointensity behavior of PDCs. Results demonstrate two types of nonideal behavior: unstable remanence in multidomain (MD) titanomagnetite, and nonideal behavior linked to fumarolic and vapor phase alteration. Emplacement temperature indirectly influences MSH results by controlling the fraction of homogenous MD versus oxyexsolved pseudo-single domain titanomagnetite. NV samples are more directly influenced by vapor phase alteration. The majority of NV samples show distinct two-slope behavior in the natural remanent magnetizationpartial thermal remanent magnetization plots. We interpret this to arise from a (thermo)chemical remanent magnetization associated with vapor phase alteration, and samples with high water content (>0.75% loss on ignition) generate paleointensities that deviate most strongly from the true value. We find that PDCs can be productively used for paleointensity, but thatas with all paleointensity studiescare should be taken in identifying potential postemplacement alteration below the Curie temperature, and that large, welded flows may be more alteration-prone. One advantage in using PDCs is that they typically have greater areal (spatial) exposure than a basalt flow, allowing for more extensive sampling and better assessment of errors and uncertainty.

Tauxe, L, Gee JS, Steiner MB, Staudigel H.  2013.  Paleointensity results from the Jurassic: New constraints from submarine basaltic glasses of ODP Site 801C. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.   10.1002/2013GC004704   AbstractWebsite

Tholeiite of the oldest oceanic crust was drilled during ODP Legs 129 and 185 at Hole 801C in the western Pacific. Fresh appearing submarine basaltic glass (SBG) was recovered from the tholetiites (~167 Ma; Koppers et al. [2003]) which has been shown to be nearly ideal for determining absolute paleointensity. Paleointensities of the younger, off-axis, alkalic basalts (~160 Ma; Koppers et al. [2003]), overlying the tholeiites, had been studied earlier [Tauxe, 2006]. Here we report results from the older tholeiitic (on-axis) sequence. We subjected a total of 73 specimens from 17 cooling units to absolute paleointensity experiments. Of these, 30 specimens and 6 cooling unit averages met our strictest reliability criteria, yielding an average of 11.9± 3.9 μT. The bulk of evidence suggests a paleolatitude of the site of 14°S (with an uncertainty of 10°). This translates the intensity to a value for the virtual axial dipole moment of 28 ZAm2, slightly lower than values determined from the plagio clase crystals in the three cooling units of the younger alkalic basalts over lying the tholeiites. This value is low when compared to the long-term median value of the field of 42 ZAm2. Our results and those of the published literature therefore support the contention of a low magnetic field strength in the Jurassic (average of 28 ± 14 ZAm2; N = 138 individual estimates), as initially suggested by Prévot et al. [1990]. Our interpretation of the body of available data argue for low field strengths for the entire Jurassic extending into the early Cretaceous.

Bowles, JA, Gee JS, Burgess K, Cooper RF.  2011.  Timing of magnetite formation in basaltic glass: Insights from synthetic analogs and relevance for geomagnetic paleointensity analyses. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 12   10.1029/2010gc003404   AbstractWebsite

Absolute paleointensity estimates from submarine basaltic glass (SBG) typically are of high technical quality and accurately reflect the ambient field when known. SBG contains fine-grained, low-Ti magnetite, in contrast to the high-Ti magnetite in crystalline basalt, which has lead to uncertainty over the origin of the magnetite and its remanence in SBG. Because a thermal remanence is required for accurate paleointensity estimates, the timing and temperature of magnetite formation is crucial. To assess these factors, we generated a suite of synthetic glasses with variable oxygen fugacity, cooling rate, and FeO* content. Magnetic properties varied most strongly with crystallinity; less crystalline specimens are similar to natural SBG and have weaker magnetization, a greater superparamagnetic contribution, and higher unblocking temperatures than more crystalline specimens. Thellier-type paleointensity results recovered the correct field within 1 sigma error with 2 (out of 10) exceptions that likely result from an undetected change in the laboratory field. Unblocking and ordering temperature data demonstrate that low-Ti magnetite is a primary phase, formed when the glass initially quenched. Although prolonged heating at high temperatures (during paleointensity experiments) may result in minor alteration at temperatures <580 degrees C, this does not appear to impact the accuracy of the paleointensity estimate. Young SBG is therefore a suitable material for paleointensity studies.

Lawrence, K, Johnson C, Tauxe L, Gee J.  2008.  Lunar paleointensity measurements: Implications for lunar magnetic evolution. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 168:71-87.   10.1016/j.pepi.2008.05.007   AbstractWebsite

We analyze published and new paleointensity data from Apollo samples to reexamine the hypothesis of an early (3.9-3.6 Ga) lunar dynamo. Our new paleointensity experiments on four samples use modern absolute and relative measurement techniques, with ages ranging from 3.3 to 4.3 Ga, bracketing the putative period of an ancient lunar field. Samples 60015 (anorthosite) and 76535 (troctolite) failed during absolute paleointensity experiments. Samples 72215 and 62235 (impact breccias) recorded a complicated, multicomponent magnetic history that includes a low-temperature (< 500 degrees C) component associated with a high intensity (similar to 90 mu T) and a high temperature (> 500 degrees C) component associated with a low intensity (2 [LT). Similar multi-component behavior has been observed in several published absolute intensity experiments on lunar samples. Additional material from 72215 and 62235 was subjected to a relative paleointensity experiment (a saturation isothermal remanent magnetization, or sIRM, experiment); neither sample Provided unambiguous evidence for a thermal origin of the recorded remanent magnetization. We test several magnetization scenarios in an attempt to explain the complex magnetization recorded in lunar samples. Specifically, an overprint from exposure to a small magnetic field (an isothermal remanent magnetization) results in multi-component behavior (similar to absolute paleointensity results) from which we could not recover the correct magnitude of the original thermal remanent magnetization. In light of these new experiments and a thorough re-evaluation of existing paleointensity measurements, we conclude that although some samples with ages of 3.6 to 3.9 Ga are strongly magnetized, and sometimes exhibit stable directional behavior, it has not been demonstrated that these observations indicate a primary thermal remanence. Particularly problematic in the interpretation of lunar sample magnetizations are the effects of shock. As relative paleointensity measurements for lunar samples are calibrated using absolute paleointensities, the lack of acceptable absolute paleointensity measurements renders the interpretation of relative paleointensity measurements unreliable. Consequently, current paleointensity measurements do not support the existence of a 3.9-3.6 Ga lunar dynamo with 100 mu T surface fields, a result that is in better agreement with satellite measurements of crustal magnetism and that presents fewer challenges for thermal evolution and dynamo models. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Selkin, PA, Gee JS, Meurer WP, Hemming SR.  2008.  Paleointensity record from the 2.7 Ga Stillwater Complex, Montana. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 9   10.1029/2008gc001950   AbstractWebsite

The record of geomagnetic intensity captured in the 2.7 Ga Stillwater Complex (Montana, USA) provides a statistical description of the Archean geodynamo. We present results of modified Thellier paleointensity experiments on 441 core specimens, 114 of which pass strict reliability criteria. The specimens are from 53 sites spanning most of the Banded Series rocks in the Stillwater Complex. On the basis of thermochronologic and petrologic evidence, we interpret the highest temperature component of remanence to be a late Archean thermoremanence, though the possibility remains that it is a thermochemical remanence. Thermal models indicate that the highest temperature magnetization component at each of the sites averages similar to 20-200 ka of geomagnetic secular variation. The suite of sites as distributed through the Banded Series samples a roughly a 1 Ma time interval. The average of the most reliable paleointensity measurements, uncorrected for the effects of anisotropy or cooling rate, is 38.2 +/- 11.3 mu T (1 sigma). Remanence anisotropy, cooling rate, and the nonlinear relationship between applied field and thermoremanence have a significant effect on paleointensity results; a corrected average of 30.6 +/- 8.8 mu T is likely a more appropriate value. Earth's average dipole moment during the late Archean (5.05 +/- 1.46 x 10(22) Am(2), lambda(pmag) = 44.5 degrees) was well within the range of estimates from Phanerozoic rocks. The distribution of site-mean paleointensities around the mean is consistent with that expected from slow cooling over timescales expected from thermal models and with secular variation comparable to that of the Phanerozoic field.

Yu, YJ, Tauxe L, Gee JS.  2007.  A linear field dependence of thermoremanence in low magnetic fields. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 162:244-248.   10.1016/j.pepi.2007.04.008   AbstractWebsite

We tested a linear field-dependence of thermoremanent magnetization (TRM) to saturation isothermal remanent magnetization (SIRM) ratio for magnetite-containing natural samples. The TRM/SIRM shows a linear field-dependence to very low field ranges (<1 mu T). This observation is at odds with a claim of limited sensitivity at low fields in TRM acquisition documented in previous studies. We attribute the difference to poor field control in the ovens used in previous studies. The TRM/SIRM ratio shows a grain-size dependence. For magnetite-containing samples with insignificant anisotropy, the TRM/SIRM is most efficient in pseudo-single-domain magnetites. These results suggest that while the TRM/SIRM ratio is linear at low field strengths, the ratio provides only a crude estimation on the actual paleo-field within two orders of magnitude, suggesting that a careful sample characterization is necessary in applying the TRM/SIRM as a paleointensity proxy. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Selkin, PA, Gee JS, Tauxe L.  2007.  Nonlinear thermoremanence acquisition and implications for paleointensity data. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 256:81-89.   10.1016/j.epsl.2007.01.017   AbstractWebsite

In paleointensity studies, thermoremanence is generally regarded as a linear function of ambient inagnetic field at low fields comparable to that of the present-day Earth. We find pronounced nonlinearity at low fields for a class of materials with silicate-hosted magnetite that otherwise perforin well in paleointensity experiments. We model this nonlinearity with narrow size ranges of large, acicular single domain grains, which are most likely in a vortex state (i.e. nonuniformly magnetized, sometimes labeled pseudosingle domain). Simple TRM theory predicts that even certain single domain particles will also exhibit a nonlinear response, saturating in fields as low as the Earth's. Such behavior, although likely to be rare, may bias some paleointensity estimates. The bias is especially pronounced when the laboratory field is higher than the ancient field. Fortunately, the fundamental assumption that thermoremanence is proportional to applied field can (and should) be routinely checked at the end of successful paleointensity experiments by adding two extra heating steps. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Granot, R, Tauxe L, Gee JS, Ron H.  2007.  A view into the Cretaceous geomagnetic field from analysis of gabbros and submarine glasses. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 256:1-11.   10.1016/j.epsl.2006.12.028   AbstractWebsite

The nature of the geomagnetic field during the Cretaceous normal polarity superchron (CNS) has been a matter of debate for several decades. Numerical geodynamo simulations predict higher intensities, but comparable variability, during times of few reversals than times with frequent reversals. Published geomagnetic paleointensity data from the CNS are highly scattered suggesting that additional studies are required. Here we present new paleointensity results from 18 sites collected from the lower oceanic crust of the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus (92.1 Ma old). Together with recently published data from the Troodos upper crust we obtain three independent palcointensity time-series. These sequences reveal quasi-cyclic variations of intensities about a mean value of 54 +/- 20 Z Am(2), providing insight into the fluctuating nature of the Cretaceous magnetic field. Our data suggest the CNS field was both weaker and more variable than predicted by geodynamo simulations. The large amplitudes of these variations may explain the wide range of dipole moments previously determined from the CNS. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bowles, J, Tauxe L, Gee J, McMillan D, Cande S.  2003.  Source of tiny wiggles in Chron C5: A comparison of sedimentary relative intensity and marine magnetic anomalies. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 4   10.1029/2002gc000489   AbstractWebsite

[1] In addition to the well-established pattern of polarity reversals, short-wavelength fluctuations are often present in both sea-surface data ("tiny wiggles'') and near-bottom anomaly data. While a high degree of correlation between different geographical regions suggests a geomagnetic origin for some of these wiggles, anomaly data alone cannot uniquely determine whether they represent short reversals or paleointensity variations. Independent evidence from another geomagnetic recording medium such as deep-sea sediments is required to determine the true nature of the tiny wiggles. We present such independent evidence in the form of sedimentary relative paleointensity from Chron C5. We make the first comparison between a sedimentary relative paleointensity record (ODP Site 887 at 54degreesN, 148degreesW) and deep-tow marine magnetic anomaly data (43degreesN, 131degreesW) [ Bowers et al., 2001] for Chron C5. The sediment cores are densely sampled at similar to2.5 kyr resolution. The inclination record shows no evidence for reverse intervals within the similar to1 myr-long normal Chron C5n.2n. Rock magnetic measurements suggest that the primary magnetic carrier is pseudo-single domain magnetite. We choose a partial anhysteretic magnetization (pARM) as our preferred normalizer, and the resulting relative paleointensity record is used as input to a forward model of crustal magnetization. We then compare the results of this model with the stacked deep-tow anomaly records. The two records show a significant degree of correlation, suggesting that the tiny wiggles in the marine magnetic anomalies are likely produced by paleointensity variations. An analysis of our sampling density suggests that if any reverse intervals exist at this site, they are likely to be <5 kyr in duration. Furthermore, we suggest that reverse intervals during Chron C5n.2n documented in other locations are unlikely to be global.

Bowles, J, Gee J, Hildebrand J, Tauxe L.  2002.  Archaeomagnetic intensity results from California and Ecuador: evaluation of regional data. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 203:967-981.   10.1016/s0012-821x(02)00927-5   AbstractWebsite

We present new archaeointensity data for southeastern California (similar to33degreesN, similar to115degreesW, 50-1500 yr BP) and northwestern South America (Ecuador, 2.4degreesS, 80.7degreesW, 4000-5000 yr BP). These results represent the only data from California, as well as the oldest archaeointensity data now available in northwestern South America. In comparing our results to previously published data for the southwestern United States and northwestern South America, we note that significant scatter in the existing data makes comparisons and interpretations difficult. We undertake an analysis of the sources of data scatter (including age uncertainty, experimental errors, cooling rate differences, magnetic anisotropy, and field distortion) and evaluate the effects of scatter and error on the smoothed archaeointensity record. By making corrections where possible and eliminating questionable data, scatter is significantly reduced, especially in South America, but is far from eliminated. However, we believe the long-period fluctuations in intensity can be resolved, and differences between the Southwestern and South American records can be identified. The Southwest data are distinguished from the South American data by much higher virtual axial dipole moment values from similar to 0-600 yr BP and by a broad low between similar to 1000-1500 yr BP. Comparisons to global paleofield models reveal disagreements between the models and the archaeointensity data in these two regions, underscoring the need for additional intensity data to constrain the models in much of the world. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Selkin, PA, Gee JS, Tauxe L, Meurer WP, Newell AJ.  2000.  The effect of remanence anisotropy on paleointensity estimates: a case study from the Archean Stillwater Complex. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 183:403-416.   10.1016/s0012-821x(00)00292-2   AbstractWebsite

Paleomagnetism of Archean rocks potentially provides information about the early development of the Earth and of the geodynamo. Precambrian layered intrusive rocks are good candidates for paleomagnetic studies: such complexes are commonly relatively unaltered and may contain some single-domain magnetite 'armored' by silicate mineral grains. However, layered intrusives often have a strong petrofabric that may result in a strong remanence anisotropy. Magnetic anisotropy can have particularly disastrous consequences for paleointensity experiments if the anisotropy is unrecognized and if its effects remain uncorrected. Here we examine the magnetic anisotropy of an anorthosite sample with a well-developed magmatic foliation. The effect of the sample's remanence fabric on paleointensity determinations is significant: paleointensities estimated by the method of Thellier and Thellier range from 17 to 55 muT for specimens magnetized in a field of 25 muT. We describe a technique based on the remanence anisotropy tensor to correct paleointensity estimates for the effects of magnetic fabric and use it to estimate a paleointensity for the Stillwater Complex (MT, USA) of similar to 32 muT (adjusted for the effects of slow cooling). (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Gee, JS, Cande SC, Hildebrand JA, Donnelly K, Parker RL.  2000.  Geomagnetic intensity variations over the past 780 kyr obtained from near-seafloor magnetic anomalies. Nature. 408:827-832.   10.1038/35048513   AbstractWebsite

Knowledge of past variations in the intensity of the Earth's magnetic field provides an important constraint on models of the geodynamo. A record of absolute palaeointensity for the past 50 kyr has been compiled from archaeomagnetic and volcanic materials, and relative palaeointensities over the past 800 kyr have been obtained from sedimentary sequences. But a long-term record of geomagnetic intensity should also be carried by the thermoremanence of the oceanic crust. Here we show that near-seafloor magnetic anomalies recorded over the southern East Pacific Rise are well correlated with independent estimates of geomagnetic intensity during the past 780 kyr. Moreover, the pattern of absolute palaeointensity of seafloor glass samples from the same area agrees with the well-documented dipole intensity pattern for the past 50 kyr. A comparison of palaeointensities derived from seafloor glass samples with global intensity variations thus allows us to estimate the ages of surficial lava flows in this region. The record of geomagnetic intensity preserved in the oceanic crust should provide a higher-time-resolution record of crustal accretion processes at mid-ocean ridges than has previously been obtainable.

Juarez, MT, Tauxe L, Gee JS, Pick T.  1998.  The intensity of the Earth's magnetic field over the past 160 million years. Nature. 394:878-881.   10.1038/29746   AbstractWebsite

In contrast to our detailed knowledge of the directional behaviour of the Earth's magnetic field during geological and historical times(1,2), data constraining the past intensity of the field remain relatively scarce. This is mainly due to the difficulty in obtaining reliable palaeointensity measurements, a problem that is intrinsic to the geological materials which record the Earth's magnetic field. Although the palaeointensity database has grown modestly over recent years(3-5), these data are restricted to a few geographical locations and more than one-third of the data record the field over only the past 5 Myr-the most recent database(5) covering the time interval from 5 to 160 Myr contains only about 100 palaeointensity measurements. Here we present 21 new data points from the interval 5-160 Myr obtained from submarine basalt glasses collected from locations throughout the world's oceans. Whereas previous estimates for the average dipole moment were comparable to that of the Earth's present field(6), the new data suggest an average dipole moment of (4.2 +/- 2.3) x 10(22) A m(2), or approximately half the present magnetic-field intensity. This lower average value should provide an important constraint for future efforts to model the convective processes in the Earth's core which have been responsible for generating the magnetic field.

Gee, J, Schneider DA, Kent DV.  1996.  Marine magnetic anomalies as recorders of geomagnetic intensity variations. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 144:327-335.   10.1016/s0012-821x(96)00184-7   AbstractWebsite

In addition to providing a robust record of past geomagnetic polarity reversals, marine magnetic anomalies often show shorter wavelength variations, which may provide information on geomagnetic intensity variations within intervals of constant polarity. To evaluate this possible geomagnetic signal, we compare sea surface profiles of the Central Anomaly with synthetic profiles based on Brunhes age (0-0.78 Ma) paleointensity records derived from deep sea sediments. The similarity of the synthetic profiles and observed profiles from the ultra-fast spreading southern East Pacific Rise suggests that geomagnetic intensity variations play an important role in the magnetization of the oceanic crust. This interpretation is further supported by systematic variations in the pattern of the Central Anomaly at slower spreading ridges, which are entirely consistent with a progressively smoother record of the sediment-derived paleointensity. If the sedimentary records, as calibrated to available absolute paleointensity data, accurately record variations in dipole intensity over the Brunhes, it follows that much of the Brunhes was characterized by geomagnetic intensities lower than either the mean dipole moment for the past 10 ka or the average for the period from 0.05 to 5.0 Ma. Furthermore, the sediment paleointensity records reflect the significant increase in geomagnetic intensity, from a low of similar to 2 x 10(22) Am-2 near 40 ka to a peak value (11 x 10(22) Am-2) at similar to 3 ka, that has been well documented from absolute paleointensity determinations, We suggest that geomagnetic intensity variations may be the most important cause of the rapid changes in the source layer magnetization near the ridge crest and the resultant Central Anomaly Magnetic High.