Statistical structure of geomagnetic reversals

Kent, Dennis V.

Reversals of the Earth's magnetic field have not occurred at a constant average rate over the past 170 Myr. Shifts in the mean reversal rate at various times appear to be separated by periods of tens of millions of years in which the average rate of reversals remains nearly constant. Conclusions drawn from these and other statistical properties of reversal processes have been based on analyses of early versions of the geomagnetic polarity timescale (OPTS). More recent versions of the OPTS for the past 170 Myr incorporate a variety of new data from marine magnetic anomalies, magneto-biostrategraphic correlations and improved age calibrations, resulting in a new picture of the reversal behavior of geomagnetic fields.



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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
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January 20, 2012