Publications

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2017
Shaar, R, Tauxe L, Goguitchaichvili A, Devidze M, Licheli V.  2017.  Further evidence of the Levantine Iron Age geomagnetic anomaly from Georgian pottery. Geophysical Research Letters. 44:2229-2236.   10.1002/2016gl071494   AbstractWebsite

Recent archaeomagnetic data from ancient Israel revealed the existence of a so-called "Levantine Iron Age geomagnetic anomaly" (LIAA) which spanned the first 350years of the first millennium before the Common Era (B.C.E.) and was characterized by a high averaged geomagnetic field (virtual axial dipole moments, VADM>140ZAm(2), nearly twice of today's field), short decadal-scale geomagnetic spikes (VADM of 160-185ZAm(2)), fast field variations, and substantial deviation from dipole field direction. The geographic constraints of the LIAA have remained elusive due to limited high-quality paleointensity data in surrounding locations. Here we report archaeointensity data from Georgia showing high field values (VADM>150ZAm(2)) in the tenth or ninth century B.C.E., low field values (VADM<60 ZAm(2)) in the twelfth century B.C.E., and fast field variation in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. High field values in the time frame of LIAA have been observed so far only in three localities near the Levant: Eastern Anatolia, Turkmenistan, and now Georgia, all located east of longitude 30 degrees E. West of this, in the Balkans, field values in the same time are moderate to low. These constraints put geographic limits on the extent of the LIAA and support the hypothesis of an unusually intense regional geomagnetic anomaly during the beginning of the first half of the first millennium B.C.E., comparable in area and magnitude (but of opposite sign) to the presently active South Atlantic anomaly.

2015
Cromwell, G, Tauxe L, Halldorsson SA.  2015.  New paleointensity results from rapidly cooled Icelandic lavas: Implications for Arctic geomagnetic field strength. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 120:2913-2934.   10.1002/2014jb011828   AbstractWebsite

The Earth's magnetic field is assumed to be a geocentric axial dipole (GAD) when averaged over sufficient time (10(5)-10(6)years). Recent investigations of global paleosecular variation and time-averaged field behavior on million year timescales generally support a predominantly dipole field in the Northern Hemisphere, but unique field structures at high southern latitudes suggest the presence of a substantial (g) over bar (0)(2) quadrupolar component. Average paleointensity results from Antarctica are approximately half the value predicted by a GAD field; this behavior has not been sufficiently investigated because there is a paucity of absolute paleointensity data from the high latitudes of the Arctic and Antarctic, so no adequate comparisons have been made between the two regions. We collected glassy volcanic material from 129 subaerial and subglacial volcanic units in Iceland in order to provide a suitable intensity data set at high northern latitudes. Forty-four sites met our very strict specimen and site level selection criteria. Four Holocene sites have a median intensity value of 55.8 +/- 15.6 mu T (virtual axial dipole moment=78.1 +/- 22.0ZAm(2)), consistent with the present-day field. Thirty-seven sites are between 11ka and 3.35Ma with a median intensity of 33.1 +/- 8.3 mu T (47.0 +/- 11.6ZAm(2)). This median intensity is indistinguishable from some long-term global field strength estimates. Reevaluation of existing high-latitude data suggests a general agreement with our Iceland results, but there are still too few Antarctic sites to adequately compare Arctic and Antarctic field behaviors.

2003
Tauxe, L, Constable C, Johnson CL, Koppers AAP, Miller WR, Staudigel H.  2003.  Paleomagnetism of the southwestern USA recorded by 0-5 Ma igneous rocks. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 4   10.1029/2002gc000343   AbstractWebsite

The issue of permanent nondipole contributions to the time-averaged field lies at the very heart of paleomagnetism and the study of the ancient geomagnetic field. In this paper we focus on paleomagnetic directional results from igneous rocks of the southwestern U. S. A. in the age range 0-5 Ma and investigate both the time-averaged field and its variability about the mean value. Several decades of work in the southwestern United States have resulted in the publication of paleomagnetic data from over 800 individual paleomagnetic sites. As part of a new investigation of the San Francisco Volcanics, we collected paleomagnetic samples from 47 lava flows, many of which have been previously dated. The new data combined with published data are highly scattered. Contributions to the scatter were considered, and we find that removal of data sets from tectonically active areas and judicious selection according to Fisher's [1953] precision parameter results in an axially symmetric data distribution with normal and reverse modes that are indistinguishable from antipodal. Monte Carlo simulations suggest that a minimum of 5 samples per site are needed to estimate the precision parameter sufficiently accurately to allow its use as a determinant of data quality. Numerical simulations from statistical paleosecular variation models indicate the need for several hundred paleomagnetic sites to get an accurate determination of the average field direction and are also used to investigate the directional bias that results from averaging unit vectors rather than using the full field vector. Average directions for the southwestern U. S. A. show small deviations from a geocentric axial dipole field, but these cannot be considered statistically significant. Virtual geomagnetic pole (VGP) dispersions are consistent with those from globally distributed observations analyzed by McElhinny and McFadden [1997]. However, a systematic investigation of the effect of imposing a cutoff on VGPs with large deviations from the geographic axis indicates that while it may reduce bias in calculating the average direction, such a procedure can result in severe underestimates of the variance in the geomagnetic field. A more satisfactory solution would be to use an unbiased technique for joint estimation of the mean direction and variance of the field distribution.

2000
Tauxe, L, Staudigel H, Wijbrans JR.  2000.  Paleomagnetism and Ar-40/Ar-39 ages from La Palma in the Canary Islands. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 1   10.1029/2000GC000063   AbstractWebsite

The structure of the time-averaged geomagnetic field has been known for centuries to be approximately dipolar. Significant departures of the time-averaged field from that of an axial geocentric dipole, however, have been reported for decades. The data on which time-averaged field models are based must be of the highest quality in order to document subtle long-term features. We present here new paleomagnetic data and 40Ar/39Ar ages for the island of La Palma, The Canary Islands. Paleomagnetic samples were obtained from 28 lava flows. Of these, 21 met our minimum acceptance criteria for use in time-averaged field models. The 40Ar/39Ar age determinations were successfully carried out on samples from eight of the flows. Our isotopic ages and paleomagnetic polarities are consistent with the currently accepted geomagnetic reversal timescales. The reversed data in the updated database are antipodal to the normal data within the uncertainties, and the time-averaged direction is indistinguishable from that expected from a geocentric axial dipole.