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Outer Core Stratification From the High Latitude Structure of the Geomagnetic Field

Abstract : The presence of stable stratification has broad implications for the thermal and compositional state of the outer core, the evolution of Earth's deep interior, and the energetics of the geodynamo. Yet the origin, strength, and depth extent of stratification in the region below the core-mantle boundary remain open questions. Here we compare magnetic fields produced by numerical dynamos that include heterogeneous stable thermal stratification below their outer boundary with models of the geomagnetic field on the core-mantle boundary, focusing on high latitude structures. We demonstrate that the combination of high magnetic field intensity regions and reversed magnetic flux spots, especially at high latitudes, constrains outer core stratification below the core-mantle boundary. In particular, we find that the negative contribution to the axial dipole from reversed flux spots is a strong inverse function of the stratification. Comparison of our numerical dynamo results to the structure of the historical geomagnetic field suggests up to 400 km of permeable, laterally heterogeneous thermal stratification below the core-mantle boundary.
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Peter Olson, Maylis Landeau, Evan Reynolds. Outer Core Stratification From the High Latitude Structure of the Geomagnetic Field. Frontiers in Earth Science, Frontiers Media, 2018, 6, pp.140. ⟨10.3389/feart.2018.00140⟩. ⟨insu-02931055⟩

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