Decadal-scale variations in geomagnetic field intensity from ancient Cypriot slag mounds.
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 10.1002/2014GC005455 Abstract
Geomagnetic models based on direct observations since the 1830s show that the averaged relative change in field intensity on Earth's surface over the past 170 years is less than 4.8% per decade. It is unknown if these rates represent the typical behavior of secular variations due to insufficient temporal resolution of archaeomagnetic records from earlier periods. To address this question we investigate two ancient slag mounds in Cyprus - Skouriotissa Vouppes (SU1, 4th - 5th centuries CE, 21 meter in height), and Mitsero Kokkinoyia (MK1, 7th - 5th BCE, 8 meter in height). The mounds are multi-layered sequences of slag and charcoals that accumulated near ancient copper production sites. We modeled the age-height relation of the mounds using radiocarbon dates, and estimated paleointensities using Thellier-type IZZI experiments with additional anisotropy, cooling rate, and non-linear TRM assessments. To screen out ambiguous paleointensity interpretations we applied strict selection criteria at the specimen/sample levels. To ensure objectivity, consistency, and robust error estimation we employed an automatic interpretation technique and put the data available in the MagIC database. The analyses yielded two independent sub-century scale paleointensity time series. The MK1 data indicate relatively stable field at the time the mound accumulated. In contrast, the SU1 data demonstrate changes that are comparable in magnitude to the fastest changes inferred from geomagnetic models. We suggest that fast changes observed in the published archaeomagnetic data from the Levant are driven by two longitudinally-paired regions, the Middle East and South Africa, that show unusual activity in geomagnetic models. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Orbital forcing of the East Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene and Early Pleistocene.
Nature Geoscience. 7:841-847. 10.1038/ngeo2273 Abstract
The Pliocene and Early Pleistocene, between 5.3 and 0.8 million years ago, span a transition from a global climate state that was 2-3 degrees C warmer than present with limited ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere to one that was characterized by continental-scale glaciations at both poles. Growth and decay of these ice sheets was paced by variations in the Earth's orbit around the Sun. However, the nature of the influence of orbital forcing on the ice sheets is unclear, particularly in light of the absence of a strong 20,000-year precession signal in geologic records of global ice volume and sea level. Here we present a record of the rate of accumulation of iceberg-rafted debris offshore from the East Antarctic ice sheet, adjacent to the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, between 4.3 and 2.2 million years ago. We infer that maximum iceberg debris accumulation is associated with the enhanced calving of icebergs during ice-sheet margin retreat. In the warmer part of the record, between 4.3 and 3.5 million years ago, spectral analyses show a dominant periodicity of about 40,000 years. Subsequently, the powers of the 100,000-year and 20,000-year signals strengthen. We suggest that, as the Southern Ocean cooled between 3.5 and 2.5 million years ago, the development of a perennial sea-ice field limited the oceanic forcing of the ice sheet. After this threshold was crossed, substantial retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet occurred only during austral summer insolation maxima, as controlled by the precession cycle.
On improving the selection of Thellier-type paleointensity data.
Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 15:1180-1192. 10.1002/2013gc005135 Abstract
The selection of paleointensity data is a challenging, but essential step for establishing data reliability. There is, however, no consensus as to how best to quantify paleointensity data and which data selection processes are most effective. To address these issues, we begin to lay the foundations for a more unified and theoretically justified approach to the selection of paleointensity data. We present a new compilation of standard definitions for paleointensity statistics to help remove ambiguities in their calculation. We also compile the largest-to-date data set of raw paleointensity data from historical locations and laboratory control experiments with which to test the effectiveness of commonly used sets of selection criteria. Although most currently used criteria are capable of increasing the proportion of accurate results accepted, criteria that are better at excluding inaccurate results tend to perform poorly at including accurate results and vice versa. In the extreme case, one widely used set of criteria, which is used by default in the ThellierTool software (v4.22), excludes so many accurate results that it is often statistically indistinguishable from randomly selecting data. We demonstrate that, when modified according to recent single domain paleointensity predictions, criteria sets that are no better than a random selector can produce statistically significant increases in the acceptance of accurate results and represent effective selection criteria. The use of such theoretically derived modifications places the selection of paleointensity data on a more justifiable theoretical foundation and we encourage the use of the modified criteria over their original forms.
Paleointensity determination from Sao Miguel (Azores Archipelago) over the last 3 ka.
Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 10.1016/j.pepi.2014.06.008 Abstract
Paleointensity data from the Atlantic Ocean are rare. We present new paleointensity data from Sao Miguel (Azores Islands, Portugal) based on 20 paleomagnetic sites from 13 lava flows emplaced over the last 3000 years. Ten lava flows are radiocarbon dated, whereas three flows were paleomagnetically dated and one site was dated using stratigraphic relations. All the samples, previously investigated to recover paleo-directions, were subjected to IZZI experiments. Importantly, the new data are internally consistent, agree with Moroccan and European datasets, and offer new constraints for global geomagnetic field models. Some of the ages of the paleomagnetically dated lava flows have been revised based on the intensity data presented here. The inferred Virtual Axial Dipole Moments (VADMs) range from 68.2 to 163.5 ZAm(2). A peak in field strength with an estimated age of around 600 BC is well supported by two sites from the same flow (Furna), and is comparable to the high intensity values found in Portugal for the same age and the earlier field peak at about 1000 BC in the Levant. A gradient in VADM values with latitude from northwestern Africa and across Europe between 100 and 1000 AD is confirmed as well as its absence from between 0 to 100 AD. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.