A Quantitative Comparison of 2 Paleomagnetic Records of the Cobb Mountain Subchron from North-Atlantic Deep-Sea Sediments

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Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth
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Feb 10
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We present a new paleomagnetic record of the Cobb Mountain Subchron obtained from deep-sea sediments cored at Ocean Drilling Program site 647 in the southern Labrador Sea. The details of the transitional field behavior documented by this record appear to be very similar to those recorded in a previously published record of this subchron obtained at Deep-Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) site 609 in the North Atlantic (Clement and Kent, 1987). We used a quantitative correlation technique (Martinson et al., 1982) to establish statistically the degree of similarity between these two records and thereby constrain the spatial variability in these transitional fields. The error in the alignments is reduced significantly by aligning records of virtual geomagnetic pole positions rather than directions, indicating that these records document such large scale changes in the fields that we can not distinguish them from dipolar changes, given the proximity of these two sites. These replicate records of the Cobb Mountain Subchron provide evidence that deep-sea sediments are capable of providing high resolution records of geomagnetic field behavior. A reexamination of the sequence of polarity transitions recorded at DSDP site 609 in light of these results suggests the presence of two preferred transitional field configurations. The field appears to change from one configuration to the other for several reversals and then back to the original configuration, suggesting that a geographical influence on the reversal process persists through this sequence. The variability in these reversal records provides insights into the response of the geodynamo to this geographical influence.


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