Ultrahigh Resolution Marine Magnetic Anomaly Profiles: A Record of Continuous Paleointensity Variations?

Cande, Steven C.; Kent, Dennis V.

A distinctive pattern of small-scale marine magnetic anomalies (25-100 nT amplitude, 8-25 km wavelength: tiny wiggles) is superimposed on the more generally recognized seafloor spreading pattern between anomalies 24 and 27 in the Indian Ocean. By normalizing and stacking multiple profiles, it is demonstrated that this pattern of tiny wiggles is a high-resolution recording of paleodipole field behavior between chrons C24 and C27. The pattern of tiny wiggles between anomalies 26 and 27 is compared to an ultrafast spreading (82 mm/yr half rate) profile from the southeast Pacific where a similar signal is observed, confirming the paleodipole field origin of the anomalies. Two basic models are considered in which the tiny wiggles are attributed either to short polarity intervals or to paleointensity fluctuations. We conclude that tiny wiggles are most likely caused by paleointensity fluctuations of the dipole field and are a ubiquitous background signal to most fast spreading magnetic profiles. The implications of this study are that (1) tiny wiggles may provide information on the temporal evolution of the geomagnetic dynamo; (2) the small-scale anomalies observed in the Jurassic quiet zones may be due to paleointensity fluctuations; (3) tiny wiggles are potential time markers in large regions of uniform crustal polarity such as the Cretaceous quiet zones; and (4) much of the variance in anomaly profiles normally attributed to crustal emplacement processes, particularly at fast and ultrafast spreading rates, is actually due to intensity variations in the paleomagnetic field.

Geographic Areas



Also Published In

Journal of Geophysical Research

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
August 30, 2011