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Apparent correlation of palaeomagnetic intensity and climatic records in deep-sea sediments

Kent, Dennis V.

Most reports of a correlation between Pleistocene climate and geomagnetic field intensity rely strongly on the assumption that sediment natural remanent magnetic (NRM) intensity provides a record of geomagnetic field strength and is not sensitive to local changes in properties of the sediment. Critical assessment of relevant data presented here and elsewhere from deep-sea sediment cores shows that a pronounced dependence of NRM intensity on sediment composition can occur which implies that this assumption is unlikely to be generally valid. As sediment composition often reflects varying depositional conditions induced by climatic change, the significance of correlations proposed between Pleistocene palaeomagnetism and climatic indicators in deep-sea sediments may be less dramatic than sometimes supposed.

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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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January 20, 2012
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