Depth of post-depositional remanence acquisition in deep-sea sediments: a case study of the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal and oxygen isotopic Stage 19.1
Although post-depositional remanent magnetization (PDRM) in deep-sea sediments appears to be acquired during the earliest stages of sediment compaction, the natural variability of the PDRM lock-in depth in deep-sea sediments is poorly understood and as yet unquantified. Here we consider variations in the relative stratigraphic positions of oxygen isotopic interglacial Stage 19.1 and the Brunhes-Matuyama (B/M) Chronozone reversal for eight deep-sea sediment cores. Results from a similar study of the displacement between a widespread microtektite layer and the B/M boundary are also included . The PDRM lock-in depth and the temporal relationships between the B/M and Stage 19.1 datums can be determined from the offsets between the paleomagnetic and the isotopic (and microtektite) stratigraphies. For cores with sedimentation rates greater than 1 cm kyr−1, the depth offset between the paleomagnetic and isotopic datums is a linear function of sedimentation rate. A simple model (r2 = 0.77) demonstrates that (1) PDRM acquisition occurs ∼ 16 cm below the sediment surface, and (2) the B/M reversal occurs 6 kyr (±2 kyr) after the Stage 19.1 datum, and the Stage 19.1 datum occurs 9 kyr (±3 kyr) after the deposition of the Australasian microtektite strewnfield. This example argues against simple geophysical models linking geomagnetic field reversals to climate change or impact events. The B/M boundary is anomalously deep (30–50 cm) in very low accumulation rate sediments ( < 1 cm kyr−1) and this may reflect the unusual physical properties of these sediments. A review of the geotechnical literature suggests that very low accumulation rate sediments have sufficient time to develop enhanced interparticle rigidity (structural strength) which inhibits early compaction and, hence, PDRM acquisition.
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- Earth and Planetary Science Letters