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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.

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.

Shaar, R, Tauxe L, Ben-Yosef E, Kassianidou V, Lorentzen B, Feinberg JM, Levy TE.  2014.  Decadal-scale variations in geomagnetic field intensity from ancient Cypriot slag mounds. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.   10.1002/2014GC005455   AbstractWebsite

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.

Paterson, GA, Tauxe L, Biggin AJ, Shaar R, Jonestrask LC.  2014.  On improving the selection of Thellier-type paleointensity data. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 15:1180-1192.   10.1002/2013gc005135   AbstractWebsite

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.

Shaar, R, Tauxe L.  2013.  Thellier GUI: An integrated tool for analyzing paleointensity data from Thellier-type experiments. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 14:677-692.   10.1002/ggge.20062   AbstractWebsite

Thellier-type experiments are a method used to estimate the intensity of the ancient geomagnetic field from samples carrying thermoremanent magnetization. The analysis of Thellier-type experimental data is conventionally done by manually interpreting data from each specimen individually. The main limitations of this approach are: (1) manual interpretation is highly subjective and can be biased by misleading concepts, (2) the procedure is time consuming, and (3) unless the measurement data are published, the final results cannot be reproduced by readers. These issues compound when trying to combine together paleointensity data from a collection of studies. Here, we address these problems by introducing the Thellier GUI: a comprehensive tool for interpreting Thellier-type experimental data. The tool presents a graphical user interface, which allows manual interpretation of the data, but also includes two new interpretation tools: (1) Thellier Auto Interpreter: an automatic interpretation procedure based on a given set of experimental requirements, and 2) Consistency Test: a self-test for the consistency of the results assuming groups of samples that should have the same paleointensity values. We apply the new tools to data from two case studies. These demonstrate that interpretation of non-ideal Arai plots is nonunique and different selection criteria can lead to significantly different conclusions. Hence, we recommend adopting the automatic interpretation approach, as it allows a more objective interpretation, which can be easily repeated or revised by others. When the analysis is combined with a Consistency Test, the credibility of the interpretations is enhanced. We also make the case that published paleointensity studies should include the measurement data (as supplementary files or as a contributions to the MagIC database) so that results based on a particular data set can be reproduced and assessed by others.

Mitra, R, Tauxe L, McIntosh SK.  2013.  Two thousand years of archeointensity from West Africa. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 364:123-133.   10.1016/j.epsl.2012.12.027   AbstractWebsite

This study presents 17 archeointensity estimates from Senegal and Mali, two neighboring countries in West Africa, for the period 1000 BCE to 1000 CE. The archeological artifacts used in this study were collected during the course of two separate projects, together spanning 22 years and across 8 separate excavations. A primary objective of this study was to get accurate dates, hence, only samples with independent age constraints from pottery style, detailed stratigraphy and C-14 dates were used. A total of 236 specimens from 63 samples were subjected to a double heating paleointensity experiment (IZZI method) from which 95 specimens were selected using a set of very strict selection criteria. The paleointensity results were corrected for differential cooling rate effects and remanence anisotropy. Additionally, we demonstrate the equivalence of using tensors derived from anhysteretic and thermal remanences for correcting remanent anisotropy of the specimens and use the form!

Cromwell, G, Constable CG, Staudigel H, Tauxe L, Gans P.  2013.  Revised and updated paleomagnetic results from Costa Rica. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 14:3379-3388.   10.1002/ggge.20199   AbstractWebsite

Paleomagnetic results from globally distributed lava flows have been collected and analyzed under the time-averaged field initiative (TAFI), a multi-institutional collaboration started in 1996 and designed to improve the geographic and temporal coverage of the 0-5 Ma paleomagnetic database for studying both the time-averaged field and its very long-term secular variations. Paleomagnetic samples were collected from 35 volcanic units, either lava flows or ignimbrites, in Costa Rica in December 1998 and February 2000 from the Cordilleras Central and Guanacaste, the underlying Canas, Liberia and Bagaces formations and from Volcano Arenal. Age estimates range from approximately 40 ka to slightly over 6 Ma. Although initial results from these sites were used in a global synthesis of TAFI data by Johnson et al. (2008), a full description of methodology was not presented. This paper documents the definitive collection of results comprising 28 paleomagnetic directions (24 normal, 4 reversed), with enhanced precision and new geological interpretations, adding two paleointensity estimates and 19 correlated Ar-40/Ar-39 radiometric ages. The average field direction is consistent with that of a geocentric axial dipole and dispersion of virtual geomagnetic poles (17.34.6 degrees) is in general agreement with predictions from several statistical paleosecular variation models. Paleointensity estimates from two sites give an average field strength of 26.3 T and a virtual axial dipole moment of 65 ZAm(2). The definitive results provide a useful augmentation of the global database for the longer term goal of developing new statistical descriptions of paleomagnetic field behavior.

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.

Roberts, AP, Tauxe L, Heslop D.  2013.  Magnetic paleointensity stratigraphy and high-resolution Quaternary geochronology: successes and future challenges. Quaternary Science Reviews. 61:1-16.   10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.10.036   AbstractWebsite

Magnetic paleointensity stratigraphy is used to detect variations in the strength of Earth's ancient magnetic field. Paleointensity studies have demonstrated that a dominantly dipolar geomagnetic signal can be recorded in a globally coherent manner in different types of sediments and in non-sedimentary archives, including ice core records and marine magnetic anomaly profiles. The dominantly dipolar nature of geomagnetic paleointensity variations provides a global geophysical signal that has come to be widely used to date Quaternary sediments. Despite the many successful applications of paleointensity-assisted chronology, the mechanisms by which sediments become magnetized remain poorly understood and there is no satisfactory theoretical foundation for paleointensity estimation. In this paper, we outline past successes of sedimentary paleointensity analysis as well as remaining challenges that need to be addressed to place such work on a more secure theoretical and empirical foundation. We illustrate how common concepts for explaining sedimentary remanence acquisition can give rise to centennial to millennial offsets between paleomagnetic and other signals, which is a key limitation for using paleointensity signals for geochronology. Our approach is intended to help non-specialists to better understand the legitimate uses and limitations of paleointensity stratigraphy, while pointing to outstanding problems that require concerted specialist efforts to resolve.

Donadini, F, Elming SA, Tauxe L, Halenius U.  2011.  Paleointensity determination on a 1.786 Ga old gabbro from Hoting, Central Sweden. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 309:234-248.   10.1016/j.epsl.2011.07.005   AbstractWebsite

Paleointensities from Precambrian rocks are rare and might be biased by remagnetization processes. Here we present new analyses of samples from a 1.786 Ga gabbro near Hoting, Central Sweden. Rock magnetic and mineralogical analyses indicate that one of the sites (site 5) may be pristine, whereas the others exhibit evidence of alteration. Characteristic remanent magnetization was determined using principal component analysis for each sample and was compared with results obtained in a previous study of Elming et al. (2009). Intensity measurements from site 5 show higher values compared to those of the other sites, suggesting that alteration processes may lead to underestimation of the field intensity. After cooling rate and anisotropy correction, the field moment at 1.786 Ga was estimated to be 25.6 +/- 33 ZAm(2) and 15.2 +/- 6.1 ZAm(2) from site 5 only and from all sites respectively. We consider the result from site 5 to be more accurate owing to the lack of evidence for alteration: our estimates agree well with the Proterozoic VDM values suggested by Biggin et al. (2009). (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Shaar, R, Ron N, Tauxe L, Kessel R, Agnon A.  2011.  Paleomagnetic field intensity derived from non-SD: Testing the Thellier IZZI technique on MD slag and a new bootstrap procedure. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 310:213-224.   10.1016/j.epsl.2011.08.024   AbstractWebsite

Experimental techniques to determine paleomagnetic field intensity are based on a theoretical framework that is valid only for single-domain (SD) ferromagnetic particles. Yet, most of the available materials exhibit distinctly non-SD properties. Designing the optimal paleointensity methodology for non-SD is, therefore, a fundamental challenge in paleomagnetism. The objective of this study is to experimentally test the IZZI Thellier absolute paleointensity method on small MD recorders. The test has two purposes: 1) to describe the characteristic non-SD patterns occurring in Arai plots, and 2) to identify the optimal approach in interpreting non-SD behavior. We carried out paleointensity experiments on 40 specimens from 4 synthetic re-melted slag samples with identical magnetic properties (mineralogy, texture, and non-SD state) produced under different field intensities. We ran three batches of IZZI experiments using different conditions that allow for a detailed characterization of the non-SD behavior. We find that the curvature of the Arai plot is systematically dependent on the angle and the proportion between the field used in the paleointensity experiment (B(TRM)) and the field in which the NRM was acquired (B(NRM)). Straight-line Arai plot occur when the two fields are parallel and equal, and seems to always give the 'true' slope. Convex curves occur when B(TRM) is parallel and significantly stronger than B(NRM). Concave curves occur in all the other cases and yield two end-case slopes that are always different than the 'true' slope. In addition, zigzagged patterns increase with the angle the proportion between B(TRM) and B(NRM). We test the accuracy of the 'best fitting' line approach and conclude that 'best fitting' line in curved plots cannot provide robust paleointensity estimates. Yet, the two 'end-case' slopes in concave curves provide adequate constraints for the true value. We introduce a new procedure to calculate a 95% confidence interval of the paleointensity from curved plots using bootstrap statistics. We substantiate the new procedure by conducting two independent tests. The first uses synthetic re-melted slag produced under known field intensities - 3 SD samples and 4 non-SD samples. The second compares paleointensity determinations from archeological slag samples of the same age - 34 SD samples and 10 non-SD samples. The two tests demonstrate that the bootstrap technique may be the optimal approach for non-ideal dataset. (C) 2011 Elsevier BM. All rights reserved.

Shaar, R, Ben-Yosef E, Ron H, Tauxe L, Agnon A, Kessel R.  2011.  Geomagnetic field intensity: How high can it get? How fast can it change? Constraints from Iron Age copper slag Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 301:297-306.   10.1016/j.epsl.2010.11.013   AbstractWebsite

The intensity of the geomagnetic field varies over different time scales. Yet, constraints on the maximum intensity of the field as well as for its maximum rate of change are inadequate due to poor temporal resolution and large uncertainties in the geomagnetic record. The purpose of this study is to place firm limits on these fundamental properties by constructing a high-resolution archaeointensity record of the Levant from the 11th century to the early 9th century BCE, a period over which the geomagnetic field reached its maximum intensity in Eurasia over the past 50,000 years. We investigate a (14)C-dated sequence of ten layers of slag material, which accumulated within an ancient industrial waste mound of an Iron Age copper-smelting site in southern Israel. Depositional stratigraphy constrains relative ages of samples analyzed for paleointensity, and (14)C dates from different horizons of the mound constrain the age of the whole sequence. The analysis yielded 35 paleointenisty data points with accuracy better than 94% and precision better than 6%, covering a period of less than 350 years, most probably 200 years. We construct a new high-resolution quasi-continuous archaeointensity curve of the Levant that displays two dramatic spikes in geomagnetic intensity, each corresponding to virtual axial dipole moment (VADM) in excess of 200 ZAm(2). The geomagnetic spikes rise and fall over a period of less than 30 years and are associated with VADM fluctuations of at least 70 ZAm2. Thus, the Levantine archaeomagnetic record places new constraints on maximum geomagnetic intensity as well as for its rate of change. Yet, it is not clear whether the geomagnetic spikes are local non-dipolar features or a geomagnetic dipolar phenomenon. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Shaar, R, Ron H, Tauxe L, Kessel R, Agnon A, Ben-Yosef E, Feinberg JM.  2010.  Testing the accuracy of absolute intensity estimates of the ancient geomagnetic field using copper slag material. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 290:201-213.   10.1016/j.epsl.2009.12.022   AbstractWebsite

The Middle-Eastern copper slag is a promising new material for studying intensity variations in the geomagnetic field with high resolution and precision. The purpose of this study is to test the accuracy of archaeointensity estimates determined using copper slag by addressing two questions: 1) "Does slag material display the magnetic properties required for valid Thellier experiments?" and 2) "What is the accuracy of the archaeointensity estimates derived from Thellier-style experiments on optimal samples?" We address the first question through a comprehensive microscopic and magnetic study of representative archaeological slag samples in order to identify the properties responsible for optimal behavior in Thellier experiments. To address the second question, we reproduced slag samples in the laboratory under controlled magnetic fields and analyzed them using the same 1721 paleointensity technique used for the ancient slag. Microscopic analyses of the archaeological slag show that ferromagnetic phases occur as three-dimensional dendritic structures whose branches consist of submicronelongated particles. Magnetic analyses show that these dendrites behave as an assemblage of shape-controlled, single-domain-like particles and that their magnetization is thermoremanent. We conclude that slag material can be magnetically suitable for valid Thellier experiments. The laboratory-produced slag material demonstrated similar magnetic and mineralogical properties as the archaeological slag. IZZI experiments showed that nonlinear TRM acquisition, even at field strengths similar to Earth's, and TRM anisotropy are important factors to monitor during paleointensity studies of slag material. Anisotropy and non-linearity are probably related to the dendritic shape of the oxide grains. Intensity estimates derived from three laboratory-produced slag samples demonstrated accuracy to within similar to 5% after applying the required corrections. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Mitra, R, Tauxe L.  2009.  Full vector model for magnetization in sediments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 286:535-545.   10.1016/j.epsl.2009.07.019   AbstractWebsite

Sediments provide a continuous record of past geomagnetic field variations. Although it is theoretically possible to get both the direction and intensity of the geomagnetic field from sediment records the, mechanism is not fully understood. Previous workers have postulated that flocculation plays an important role in detrital remanent magnetism (DRM). Flocs are porous, loose and highly fragile aggregates of microscopic clay particles and their behavior in a viscous medium is likely to be different than single particles of magnetic minerals. In order to understand the role of flocculation in sediment magnetization, we carried out a set of redeposition experiments at different field intensities and a quasi-constant field inclination of 45 degrees. We present here a simple numerical model of flocculation, incorporating both magnetic and hydrodynamic torques to explain the experimental data. At small floc sizes DRM acquisition is likely to be non-linear in field strengths comparable to the Earth's, but the sediments may be able to record the directions accurately. With increasing floc sizes sediments may retain a record of the intensity that is linearly related to the applied field or a direction parallel to the applied field, but are unlikely to do both at the same time. Also, the majority of the magnetic particles in the sediments may not be contributing significantly towards the net DRM and any bulk normalizing parameter may be unsuitable if the depositional environment has changed over the depositional period. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Lawrence, KP, Tauxe L, Staudigel H, Constable CG, Koppers A, McIntosh W, Johnson CL.  2009.  Paleomagnetic field properties at high southern latitude. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 10   10.1029/2008gc002072   AbstractWebsite

Statistical analyses of paleomagnetic data from lava flows are used to study geomagnetic field behavior on million year timescales. Previous paleomagnetic studies have lacked high-latitude measurements necessary to investigate the persistence of geomagnetic anomalies observed in the recent and historical field and replicated in some numerical geodynamo simulations. These simulations suggest that reduced convective flow inside the tangent cylinder may affect the magnetic field at high latitude, whereas lower-latitude observations are expressions of columnar/helical flow outside the tangent cylinder. This paper presents new paleointensity and paleodirectional data from 100 volcanic sites in the Erebus Volcanic Province (EVP), Antarctica, and 21 new age determinations by the (40)Ar/(39)Ar incremental heating method. The new EVP data are combined with previously published paleomagnetic and geochronological results, providing 133 sites, 91 having radioisotopic dates. Modified Thellier-Thellier paleointensity estimates are reported for 47 sites (37 have dates). Ages for the combined data set span 0.03 to 13.42 Ma. The 125 high-quality EVP directional data selected from the merged data set have a non-Fisherian distribution and a mean direction with an inclination anomaly of similar to 3 degrees, but 95% confidence limits include the prediction from a geocentric axial dipole. Virtual geomagnetic pole (VGP) dispersions for Brunhes, Matuyama, and the combined 0-5 Ma data set are consistently high compared with values from middle-to low-latitude regions regardless of the criterion used to determine transitional fields. With VGP latitude cut off at 45 degrees, the dispersion (23.9 +/-2.1 degrees) for the combined 0-5 Ma EVP data set is consistent with earlier high-latitude data and paleosecular variation (PSV) in Model G but not with some more recent statistical PSV models. Mean EVP paleointensity of 31.5 +/-2.4 mu T, derived from 41 high-quality sites, is about half the current value at McMurdo (similar to 63 mu T). The result is essentially independent of data selection criteria. High VGP dispersion and low-intensity values support the global observation of anticorrelation between directional variability and field strength. Simulations of time-varying dipole strength show that uneven temporal sampling may bias the mean EVP intensity estimate, but the possibility of persistently anomalous field behavior at high latitude cannot be excluded.

Sbarbori, E, Tauxe L, Goguitchaichvili A, Urrutia-Fucugauchi J, Bohrson WA.  2009.  Paleomagnetic behavior of volcanic rocks from Isla Socorro, Mexico. Earth Planets and Space. 61:191-204. AbstractWebsite

The direction and magnitude of the geomagnetic field vary both spatially and temporally and undergo significant departures from that of a geocentric axial dipole. In order to properly characterize persistent behaviors, time-averaged field models must be based oil the highest quality data. Here we present full-vector paleomagnetic data for volcanic units exposed in the southeast quadrant of the island of Socorro, Mexico. We carried out a joint expedition between the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma Mexico to Isla Socorro in January of 2005 during which we collected oriented paleomagnetic samples from 21 sites, representing as many as 10 different volcanic units (the oldest of which is similar to 540 ka). We subjected over 100 specimens to the most up-to-date paleointensity methods, and included the standard reliability checks. In all earlier study, Bohrson et al. (1996) proposed a series of widespread eruptive events, based on similarities of argon/argon dates. Paleointensity from specimens that conform to the strictest acceptance criteria are available from both the (unoriented) original sample collection and our fully oriented (but as yet undated) new collection. Correlation between the two collections is however problematic. The time-averaged direction from Socorro is consistent with that expected from a geocentric axial dipole, and the time-averaged intensity is 30.0 +/- 7.1 mu T, equivalent to a virtual axial dipole moment (VADM) of 67.6 +/- 16.0 ZAm(2).

Ben-Yosef, E, Tauxe L, Ron H, Agnon A, Avner U, Najjar M, Levy TE.  2008.  A new approach for geomagnetic archaeointensity research: insights on ancient metallurgy in the Southern Levant. Journal of Archaeological Science. 35:2863-2879.   10.1016/j.jas.2008.05.016   AbstractWebsite

We present results from an archaeointensity investigation based on a relatively unexploited recording medium, copper slag deposits. Together with a recently improved experimental design for the archaeointensity experiment, we demonstrate the applicability of this medium, as well as other archaeometallurgical artifacts, for the study of the ancient geomagnetic field intensity. In addition to archaeointensity data from well-dated archaeological contexts, we obtained reliable archaeointensity results from poorly dated or contentious archaeometallurgical sites in the Southern Levant. These results shed new light on the dating of these sites, among them the copper smelting installation of Timna 39b a site that has important implications for the beginning of metallurgy during the fifth millennium BCE. The paper also aims to introduce archaeointensity research to the archaeologist scholar, and to encourage further collaboration between the disciplines in future research. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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.

Ben-Yosef, E, Ron H, Tauxe L, Agnon A, Genevey A, Levy TE, Avner U, Najjar M.  2008.  Application of copper slag in geomagnetic archaeointensity research. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 113   10.1029/2007jb005235   AbstractWebsite

Paleointensity and archaeointensity studies since the 1950s have produced numerous geomagnetic intensity data for the last seven millennia. As a consequence of different experiments and materials, there is a complex and internally inconsistent picture of the geomagnetic field behavior. In this study we present data using a recently developed experimental design on a heretofore unexploited recording medium: copper slag deposits. Our results, based on hundreds of specimens from various archaeometallurgical sites of the Southern Levant, demonstrate the applicability of copper slag material for archaeointensity studies. In addition to frequently exhibiting good experimental behavior, slag has further advantages such as dense multilayer deposits and in cases embedded charcoals, which open the door to data sets with excellent age control and resolution. The data presented here augment the high quality database from the Middle East and support previously observed periods of rapid change of the intensity of the geomagnetic 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.

Tauxe, L.  2006.  Long-term trends in paleointensity: The contribution of DSDP/ODP submarine basaltic glass collections. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 156:223-241.   10.1016/j.pepi.2005.03.022   AbstractWebsite

The Deep Sea Drilling Project and the Ocean Drilling Program have been collecting fresh appearing submarine basaltic glass from the world's oceans for over three decades. This glass has proved nearly ideal for estimating paleointensity variations of the Earth's magnetic field. We compile here data for 726 paleointensity experiments from six publications on paleointensity using DSDP/ODP glass. We also include new data for an additional 225 specimens. These were obtained through the so-called "IZZI" paleointensity experiment of [Tauxe, L., Staudigel, H., 2004. Strength of the geomagnetic field in the cretaceous normal superchron: new data from submarine basaltic glass of the troodos ophiolite. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 5 (2), Q02H06, doi: 10.1029/2003GCO00635] whereby infield-zerofield steps are alternated with the zerofield-infield steps to enhance quality assessment of the resulting data. The entire collection of data from 951 experiments was prepared for uploading to the MagIC data base (, including original measurements, interpretations, and useful metadata. Excellent results were obtained throughout the depth (> 1400 mbsf) and age (0-160 Ma) range sampled. DSDP/ODP glass data are compared with published paleointensity data meeting minimal acceptance criteria from the time interval 1-160 Ma. Paleolatitudes were estimated for all cooling units in a self-consistent manner for use in calculating virtual axial dipole moments. We conclude: (1) There is about a 20% difference in mean values between the SBG and the lava flow data (48 +/- 36 and 57 +/- 29 ZAm(2) respectively). The difference is caused by the fact that there are more higher values in the lava flow data than in the SBG data set rather than a difference in the minimum values. Lava flows cooling over a periods of days to months can account for the discrepancy. (2) The positive relationship between polarity interval length and average paleofield intensity first hypothesized by [Cox, A.V, 1968. Lengths of geomagnetic polarity intervals. J. Geophys. Res. 73, 3247-3260] is supported by data compiled here. The Brunhes data (for which we have only a minimum estimate for polarity interval length) are consistent with a long polarity interval, suggesting that instead of racing toward reversal [Hulot, G., Eymin, C., Langlais, B., Mandea, M., Olsen, N., 2002. Small-scale structure of the geodynamo inferred from oersted and magsat satellite data. Nature 416, 620-623], we could instead be in the midst of a long stable polarity interval. (3) Because the average value appears to be a function of polarity interval length, it is probably not useful to calculate a mean value. Nonetheless, it appears that most of the time (apart from the Brunhes and the longest polarity intervals), the average dipole moment is substantially less than the present day value as suggested by [Juarez, T., Tauxe, L., Gee, J.S., Pick, T., 1998. The intensity of the earth's magnetic field over the past 160 million years. Nature 394, 878-881]. (c) 2006 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Yu, Y, Tauxe L.  2006.  Effect of multi-cycle heat treatment and pre-history dependence on partial thermoremanence (pTRM) and pTRM tails. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 157:196-207.   10.1016/j.pepi.2006.04.006   AbstractWebsite

We test two fundamental assumptions embedded in Thellier experiments, the initial state dependence and the effect of multi-cycle heat treatment. We observe that the magnitude of partial thermoremanent magnetizations (pTRMs) imparted on an initial state of thermal demagnetization is larger than those of pTRMs in the presence of a TRM when the field used to impart pTRM is equal in magnitude and parallel to that used to produce TRM. A multi-cycle Thellier analysis on coarse-grained magnetites progressively produces more intense pTRMs and progressively erases more of the pTRM tails. Both pre-history and multi-cycle dependence will likely enhance the non-linear features of the Arai plot for coarse-grained magnetites. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Yu, YJ, Tauxe L.  2005.  Testing the IZZI protocol of geomagnetic field intensity determination. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 6   10.1029/2004gc000840   AbstractWebsite

A new paleointensity determination protocol (the IZZI method) was recently proposed. The IZZI technique combines the Aitken (in-field, zero-field; IZ) and Coe (zero-field, in-field; ZI) methods. The IZZI protocol of paleointensity method was experimentally tested, showing a strong angular dependence resulting from the undemagnetized portions of partial thermoremanent magnetization (pTRM) tails. The IZZI method is better than the conventional techniques (Aitken, Coe, and Thellier) in three respects: (1) it can easily detect the angular dependence; (2) it provides a quantitative estimate for the consistency of the outcome between IZ and ZI step; and (3) it is quicker because the extra pTRM tail check step is unnecessary.

Tauxe, L, Gans P, Mankinen EA.  2004.  Paleomagnetism and Ar-40/Ar-39 ages from volcanics extruded during the Matuyama and Brunhes Chrons near McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 5   10.1029/2003gc000656   AbstractWebsite

Maps of virtual geomagnetic poles derived from international geomagnetic reference field models show large lobes with significant departures from the spin axis. These lobes persist in field models for the last few millenia. The anomalous lobes are associated with observation sites at extreme southerly latitudes. To determine whether these features persist for millions of years, paleomagnetic vector data from the continent of Antarctica are essential. We present here new paleomagnetic vector data and Ar-40/Ar-39 ages from lava flows spanning the Brunhes and Matuyama Chrons from the vicinity of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Oriented paleomagnetic samples were collected from 50 lava flows by E. Mankinen and A. Cox in the 1965-1966 austral summer season. Preliminary data based largely on the natural remanent magnetization (NRM) directions were published by Mankinen and Cox [1988]. We have performed detailed paleomagnetic investigations of 37 sites with multiple fully oriented core samples to investigate the reliability of results from this unique sample collection. Of these, only one site fails to meet our acceptance criteria for directional data. Seven sites are reversely magnetized. The mean normal and reverse directions are antipodal. The combined mean direction has (D) over bar =12, (I) over bar=-86, alpha=4, kappa=37 and is indistinguishable from that expected from a GAD field. We obtained reproducible absolute paleointensity estimates from 15 lava flows with a mean dipole moment of 49 ZAm(2) and a standard deviation of 28 ZAm(2). Ar-40/Ar-39 age determinations were successfully carried out on samples from 18 of the flows. Our new isotopic ages and paleomagnetic polarities are consistent with the currently accepted geomagnetic reversal timescales.

Tauxe, L, Staudigel H.  2004.  Strength of the geomagnetic field in the Cretaceous Normal Superchron: New data from submarine basaltic glass of the Troodos Ophiolite. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 5   10.1029/2003gc000635   AbstractWebsite

[1] We present here new paleointensity data from 39 sampling sites collected from the quenched margins of pillow lavas and dikes exposed within the Troodos Ophiolite ( similar to 92 Ma), formed during the Cretaceous Normal Superchron (CNS), a period of approximately 40 million years when the geomagnetic field reversed extremely infrequently if at all. Monte Carlo simulations suggest that a minimum of 25 estimates are necessary for a reasonably robust estimate for the average field strength. Our data suggest a dipole strength equivalent to the present field or nearly twice the post-CNS average. The mean and standard deviation of the dipole moment (81 +/- 43 ZAm(2); Z = 10(21)) from the 57 data points compiled here agree remarkably well with those predicted from the long paleointensity record derived from DSDP Site 522. The new data set for the CNS suggests a picture of a strong and stable field during the period of time when it stopped reversing. Moreover, the similarity of the CNS data with the present geomagnetic field suggests that it is presently in a state of unusual polarity stability.

Yu, YJ, Tauxe L, Genevey A.  2004.  Toward an optimal geomagnetic field intensity determination technique. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 5   10.1029/2003gc000630   AbstractWebsite

[1] Paleointensity determinations based on double heating techniques (in-field/zero-field cooling, zero-field/ in-field cooling, and two in-field steps with opposite laboratory fields) are generally considered to be functionally interchangeable producing equally reliable paleointensity estimates. To investigate this premise, we have developed a simple mathematical model. We find that both the zero-field first and infield first methods have a strong angular dependence on the laboratory field ( parallel, orthogonal, and antiparallel) while the two in-field steps method is independent of the direction of the laboratory-produced field. Contrary to common practice, each method yields quite different outcomes if the condition of reciprocity of blocking and unblocking temperatures is not met, even with marginal (10%) tails of partial thermoremanence. Our calculations suggest that the zero field first method with the laboratory-produced field anti-parallel to the natural remanence (NRM) is the most robust paleointensity determination technique when the intensity of the lab-induced field is smaller than ancient field. However, the zero field first method with the laboratory-field parallel to the NRM is the optimum approach when the intensity of the lab-induced field is larger than the ancient field. By far the best approach, however, is to alternatethe infield-zerofield (IZ) steps with zerofield-infield (ZI) steps.

Tauxe, L, Luskin C, Selkin P, Gans P, Calvert A.  2004.  Paleomagnetic results from the Snake River Plain: Contribution to the time-averaged field global database. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 5   10.1029/2003gc000661   AbstractWebsite

[1] This study presents paleomagnetic results from the Snake River Plain (SRP) in southern Idaho as a contribution to the time-averaged field global database. Paleomagnetic samples were measured from 26 sites, 23 of which ( 13 normal, 10 reverse) yielded site mean directions meeting our criteria for acceptable paleomagnetic data. Flow ages (on 21 sites) range from 5 ka to 5.6 Ma on the basis of Ar-40/Ar-39 dating methods. The age and polarity for the 21 dated sites are consistent with the Geomagnetic Reversal Time Scale except for a single reversely magnetized site dated at 0.39 Ma. This is apparently the first documented excursion associated with a period of low paleointensity detected in both sedimentary and igneous records. Combining the new data from the SRP with data published from the northwest United States between the latitudes of 40degrees and 50degreesN, there are 183 sites in all that meet minimum acceptability criteria for legacy and new data. The overall mean direction of 173 normally magnetized sites has a declination of 2.3degrees, inclination of 61.4degrees, a Fisher concentration parameter (kappa) of 58, and a radius of 95% confidence (alpha(95)) of 1.4degrees. Reverse sites have a mean direction of 182.4degrees declination, -58.6degrees inclination, kappa of 50, and alpha(95) of 6.9degrees. Normal and reversed mean directions are antipodal and indistinguishable from a geocentric axial dipole field at the 95% confidence level. Virtual geomagnetic pole dispersion was found to be circularly symmetric, while the directional data were elongate north-south. An updated and corrected database for the northwestern U. S. region has been contributed to the Magnetics Information Consortium (MagIC) database at

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.

Tauxe, L, Love JJ.  2003.  Paleointensity in Hawaiian Scientific Drilling Project Hole (HSDP2): Results from submarine basaltic glass. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 4:n/a-n/a.   10.1029/2001GC000276   AbstractWebsite

Paleointensity estimates based on the high quality Thellier-Thellier data from the early Brunhes (420–780 ka) are rare (only 30 in the published literature). The Second Hawaiian Scientific Drilling Project (HSDP2) drill hole recovered submarine volcanics spanning the approximate time period of 420–550 ka. These are of particular interest for absolute paleointensity studies owing to the abundance of fresh submarine basaltic glass, which can preserve an excellent record of ancient geomagnetic field intensity. We present here new results of Thellier-Thellier paleointensity experiments that nearly double the number of reliable paleointensity data available for the early Brunhes. We also show that the magnetizations of the associated submarine basalts are dominated by viscous magnetizations and therefore do not reflect the true ancient geomagnetic field intensity at the time of extrusion. The viscous contamination is particularly severe because of a combination of low blocking temperatures in the basalts and relatively high temperatures in the deeper parts of the drill core. Our new data, when placed on the approximate timescale available for HSDP and HSDP2, are at odds with other contemporaneous paleointensity data. The discrepancy can be reconciled by adjusting the HSDP timescales to be younger by about 35 kyr.

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, Tauxe L.  2000.  Long-term variations in palaeointensity. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series a-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences. 358:1065-1088. AbstractWebsite

We compile a dataset of reliable palaeointensity estimates based both on published work and on new data from basaltic glass. The basaltic glass data more than double the number of reliable (Thellier method with pTRM checks) palaeointensity estimates available. Although the new data dramatically improve both spatial and temporal coverage, there is still a strong bias toward the most recent past. The last 0.3 Ma claim over half of the data in our combined database. We therefore divide the data into two groups, the densely sampled last 0.3 Myr and the more sparsely sampled period of time comprising roughly half of the data from 0.3 to 300 Ma. Separating them in this way, it is clear that the dipole moment of the Earth over the past 0.3 Myr (ca. 8 x 10(22) A m(2)) is dramatically higher than the average dipole moment over the preceding 300 Myr (ca. 5 x 10(22) A m(2)). Inclusion of poor-quality results leads to an overestimate of the average dipole moment. Interestingly, no other significant changes in the distribution of dipole moments are evident over the 300 million year span of the data.

Juarez, MT, Tauxe L.  2000.  The intensity of the time-averaged geomagnetic field: the last 5 Myr. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 175:169-180.   10.1016/s0012-821x(99)00306-4   AbstractWebsite

The existing database for paleointensity estimates of the ancient geomagnetic field contains more than 1500 data points collected through decades of effort. Despite the huge amount of work put into obtaining these data, there remains a strong bias in the age and global distribution of the data reward very young results from a few locations. Also, few of the data meet strict criteria for reliability and most are of unknown quality. In order to improve the age and spatial distribution of the paleointensity database, we have carried out paleointensity experiments on submarine basaltic glasses from a number of DSDP sites. Of particular interest are the sites that provide paleointensity data spanning the time period 0.3-5 Ma, a time of relatively few high quality published data points. Our new data are concordant with contemporaneous data from the published literature that meet minimum acceptance criteria, and the combined data set yields an average dipole moment of 5.49 +/- 2.36 x 10(22) Am-2. This average value is comparable to the average paleofield for the period 5-160 Ma (4.2 +/- 2.3 x 10(22) Am-2) [T. Juarez, L. Tauxe, J.S. Gee and T. Pick (1998) Nature 394, 878-881] and is substantially less than the value of approximately 8 x 10(22) Am-2 often quoted for the last 5 Myr (e.g. [McFadden and McElhinny (1982) J. Geomagn. Geoelectr. 34, 163-189; A.T. Goguitchaichvili, M. Prevot and P. Camps (1999) Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 167, 15-34]). (C) 2000 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.

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.

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. 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.

Tauxe, L, Shackleton NJ.  1994.  Relative Paleointensity Records from the Ontong-Java Plateau. Geophysical Journal International. 117:769-782.   10.1111/j.1365-246X.1994.tb02469.x   AbstractWebsite

Rock magnetic, palaeomagnetic and oxygen isotopic results are presented from core RNDB 75p, which was recovered from the Ontong-Java Plateau (OJP). A high degree of uniformity in magnetic properties characterized by relatively small changes in concentration and grain size in the upper 4 m of the core, combined with a lack of coherence between the normalized remanence and rock magnetic data suggests that the natural remanence normalized by saturation remanence reflects variations in relative palaeointensity of the geomagnetic field. The record from RNDB 75p replicates other Ontong-Java records spanning the last 400 Ka and extends the record back to some 700 Ka. Spectral analysis of the Ontong-Java record suggests periodic behaviour in the relative palaeointensity record with a dominant period of between 30 and 40 Ka, which appears not be be an artefact of lithologic variability. This dominant period lies between functions describing climatic precession and obliquity changes in the Earth's orbit. Comparison of the normalized remanence record with astronomical precession (26 Ka period), however, is much more favorable. None the less, 'tuning' the palaeointensity record to that of astronomical precession appears inconsistent with existing isotopic age constraints derived from the SPECMAP time-scale. Based on these data, we must choose between assuming that the Earth's orbit controlled ice volume (inherent in the SPECMAP time-scale) and assuming that the Earth's magnetic field is driven by astronomical precession. The former assumption has a substantial theoretical and observational base and we prefer to interpret the data presented here as suggesting that the Earth's orbit has not played a detectable role in the modulation of the magnetic field. Plots of saturation remanence and magnetic susceptibility are very sensitive to quite subtle changes in magnetic grain size. A slight shift within the pseudo-single-domain grain-size range toward the multidomain (or superparamagnetic) field was detected at about 4 m in RNDB 75p. This change in grain size may reflect a diagenetic alteration of the magnetite (such as dissolution) and may be related to the phenomenon responsible for the loss of magnetic remanence at depth detected in other cores from the region.

Hartl, P, Tauxe L, Constable C.  1993.  Early Oligocene Geomatnetic-Field Behavior From Deep-Sea Drilling Project Site-522. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 98:19649-19665.   10.1029/93jb02019   AbstractWebsite

Hydraulic piston coring operations at Deep Sea Drillng Project site 522 in the South Atlantic retrieved an unusually continuous section of late Eocene to late Oligocene pelagic sediments, which we sampled at 3-4 cm intervals (approximately 3-5 kyr). Natural remanent magnetization demagnetization studies indicate a well-behaved remanence. Various rock magnetic procedures strongly suggest the magnetic carrier is dominated by pseudo-single domain magnetite appropriate for recording relative intensity variations of the paleomagnetic field. Nine zones of unusually low relative paleointensity were identified within the 2 my Chron C12R interval. Seven can be typified by a approximately 20-40 kyr interval of low field intensity accompanied by apparently random, low-amplitude, short-duration directional fluctuations. The other two are of approximately equal duration and intensity but exhibit an orderly progression of directional changes that result in well-defined virtual geomagnetic pole (VGP) paths confined along a preferred meridian of approximately 70-90-degrees-W longitude. We propose that both styles occur when the main dipole term diminishes significantly but that the former result when undimished ''normal'' secular variation is continuous during the period of low axial dipole moment. We propose that the other two lows in relative paleointensity, along with one reversal record, reflect a field structure of low axial dipole moment dominated by a low-degree nonzonal spherical harmonic term. Alternatively, the confined VGP paths could be an artifact of heavy remanence smoothing between nonantipodal, semistable transitional geomagnetic pole positions. Geographical control of VGP paths, particularly along approximately 70-90-degrees-W longitude, has recently been noted for much younger reversals. The site 522 record may indicate that the underlying cause of this phenomenon was present at 32 Ma. We compare our C12R record of paleointensity lows with C12R marine magnetic anomaly ''tiny wiggles''. These data appear to indicate that C12R tiny wiggles resulted from periods of low geomagnetic field intensity that were sometimes accompanied by directional excursions.