Publications

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2013
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.

2011
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.

1998
Johnson, CL, Wijbrans JR, Constable CG, Gee J, Staudigel H, Tauxe L, Forjaz VH, Salgueiro M.  1998.  Ar-40/Ar-39 ages and paleomagnetism of Sao Miguel lavas, Azores. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 160:637-649.   10.1016/s0012-821x(98)00117-4   AbstractWebsite

We present new Ar-40/Ar-39 ages and paleomagnetic data for Sao Miguel island, Azores. Paleomagnetic samples were obtained for 34 flows and one dike; successful mean paleomagnetic directions were obtained for 28 of these 35 sites. Ar-40/Ar-39 age determinations on 12 flows from the Nordeste complex were attempted successfully: ages obtained are between 0.78 Ma and 0.88 Ma, in contrast to published K-Ar ages of 1 Ma to 4 Ma. Our radiometric ages are consistent with the reverse polarity paleomagnetic field directions, and indicate that the entire exposed part of the Nordeste complex is of a late Matuyama age. The duration of volcanism across Sao Miguel is significantly less than previously believed, which has important implications for regional melt generation processes, and temporal sampling of the geomagnetic field. Observed stable isotope and trace element trends across the island can be explained, at least in part, by communication between different magma source regions at depth. The Ar-40/Ar-39 ages indicate that our normal polarity paleomagnetic data sample at least 0.1 Myr (0-0.1 Ma) and up to 0.78 Myr (0-0.78 Ma) of paleosecular variation and our reverse polarity data sample approximately 0.1 Myr (0.78-0.88 Ma) of paleosecular variation. Our results demonstrate that precise radiometric dating of numerous flows sampled is essential to accurate inferences of long-term geomagnetic field behavior. Negative inclination anomalies are observed for both the normal and reverse polarity time-averaged field. Within the data uncertainties, normal and reverse polarity field directions are antipodal, but the reverse polarity field shows a significant deviation from a geocentric axial dipole direction. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.