An extended period of extremely weak geomagnetic field suggested by palaeointensities from the Ediacaran Grenville dykes (SE Canada)

Thallner, Daniele, Biggin, Andrew J ORCID: 0000-0003-4164-5924 and Halls, Henry C
(2021) An extended period of extremely weak geomagnetic field suggested by palaeointensities from the Ediacaran Grenville dykes (SE Canada). EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, 568. p. 117025.

[img] Text
Thallner_2021_author_accepted.pdf - Author Accepted Manuscript

Download (1MB) | Preview


Long-term variations of the geomagnetic field, observed in the palaeomagnetic record, have the potential to shed much light on the evolution of Earth's deep interior. With a geomagnetic field characterised by anomalous directions and ultra-low intensities, the Ediacaran period (635-538 Ma) is a time of special interest. Steep and shallow directions, leading to virtual geomagnetic poles (VGPs) separated by angles of up to 90° and very close in age could have recorded a geomagnetic field switching between axial and equatorial dipole-dominated states. Alternatively, the field may simply have been highly nondipolar and subject to rapid reversals. Palaeointensity determinations of units that record the anomalous directions could potentially help to discriminate between morphologies but the spatial and temporal distribution of palaeomagnetic data require improvement. Here we present new palaeointensities from 6 dykes from the western end of the Grenville Dyke swarm that recorded directionally anomalous geomagnetic fields around ∼585 Ma. Results from double-heating Thellier experiments failed to satisfy the used selection criteria, but successful microwave Thellier, Shaw and pseudo-Thellier experiments lead to palaeointensities that show field strength values of 2.9 ± 2.2 μT and corresponding virtual dipole moments of 0.3-1.7×1022 A m2. These field strengths are an order of magnitude weaker than the present-day field. VGPs grouping in two distinct clusters with almost identical angular dispersions of VGPs (SB=18.5° and 18.9°) may argue for the presence of an equatorial dipole. In contrast, the palaeointensities associated with the steep and shallow components are indistinguishable. Although based on a low number of results, this observation, together with the overall very large VGP dispersion may rather support that the Grenville Dykes have recorded enhanced secular variation linked to a highly unstable and rapidly reversing field.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: paleointensity, Ediacaran, Laurentia, Grenville dykes
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2021 08:35
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:37
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2021.117025
Related URLs: