Does the Planetary Dynamo Go Cycling On? Re-examining the Evidence for Cycles in Magnetic Reversal Rate [EPA]

The record of reversals of the geomagnetic field has played an integral role in the development of plate tectonic theory. Statistical analyses of the reversal record are aimed at detailing patterns and linking those patterns to core-mantle processes. The geomagnetic polarity timescale is a dynamic record and new paleomagnetic and geochronologic data provide additional detail. In this paper, we examine the periodicity revealed in the reversal record back to 375 Ma using Fourier analysis. Four significant peaks were found in the reversal power spectra within the 16-40-million-year range. Plotting the function constructed from the sum of the frequencies of the proximal peaks yield a transient 26 Myr periodicity, suggesting chaotic motion with a periodic attractor. The possible 16 Myr periodicity, a previously recognized result, may be correlated with “pulsation” of mantle plumes.

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A. Melott, A. Pivarunas, J. Meert, et. al.
Mon, 29 Aug 16

Comments: 4 figures. Submitted to Earth and Planetary Science Letters