Was the Devonian geomagnetic field dipolar or multipolar? Palaeointensity studies of Devonian igneous rocks from the Minusa Basin (Siberia) and the Kola Peninsula dykes, Russia



Shcherbakova, VV, Biggin, AJ ORCID: 0000-0003-4164-5924, Veselovskiy, RV, Shatsillo, AV, Hawkins, L, Shcherbakov, VP and Zhidkov, GV
(2017) Was the Devonian geomagnetic field dipolar or multipolar? Palaeointensity studies of Devonian igneous rocks from the Minusa Basin (Siberia) and the Kola Peninsula dykes, Russia. Geophysical Journal International, 209 (2). 1265 - 1286.

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Abstract

Defining variations in the behaviour of the geomagnetic field through geological time is critical to understanding the dynamics of Earth's core and its response to mantle convection and planetary evolution. Furthermore, the question of whether the axial dipole dominance of the recent palaeomagnetic field persists through the whole of Earth's history is fundamental to determining the reliability of palaeogeographic reconstructions and the efficacy of the magnetosphere in shielding Earth from solar wind radiation. Previous palaeomagnetic directional studies have suggested that the palaeofield had a complex configuration in the Devonian period (419–359 Ma). Here we present new high-quality palaeointensity determinations from rocks aged between 408 and 375 Ma from the Minusa Basin (southern Siberia), and the Kola Peninsula that enable the first reliable investigation of the strength of the field during this enigmatic period. Palaeointensity experiments were performed using the thermal Thellier, microwave Thellier and Wilson methods on 165 specimens from 25 sites. Six out of eight successful sites from the Minusa Basin and all four successful sites from the Kola Peninsula produced extremely low palaeointensities (<10 μT). These findings challenge the uniformitarian view of the palaeomagnetic field: field intensities of nearly an order of magnitude lower than Neogene values (except during relatively rare geomagnetic excursions and reversals) together with the widespread appearance of strange directions found in the Devonian suggest that the Earth's field during this time may have had a dominantly multipolar geometry. A persistent, low intensity multipolar magnetic field and associated diminished magnetosphere would increase the impact of solar particles on the Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere and atmosphere with potential major implications for Earth's climate and biosphere.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Palaeointensity, Palaeomagnetism applied to tectonics, Rock and mineral magnetism
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 15:51
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2022 05:12
DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggx085
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3006563