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Extreme geomagnetic reversal frequency during the Middle Cambrian as revealed by the magnetostratigraphy of the Khorbusuonka section (northeastern Siberia)

Abstract : We present new magnetostratigraphic results obtained for the Drumian stage (504.5-500.5 Ma; Epoch 3/Middle Cambrian) from the Khorbusuonka sedimentary section in northeastern Siberia. They complement previous data that did not allow the determination of a reliable estimate of the geomagnetic reversal frequency during this time. Magnetization of the samples is carried by a mixture of magnetite and hematite in various proportions. Thermal demagnetization makes it possible to distinguish two magnetization components. The low unblocking temperature (<350 °C) component has a steep inclination and likely originates from remagnetization in a recent field. At higher temperatures, the magnetization isolated possesses the two polarities. Its direction is usually well determined; however, for a noticeable set of samples, a strong overlap between the demagnetization spectra of the two components prevents the determination of reliable directions, although their polarities are well established. The directions from 437 samples define a sequence of 78 magnetic polarity intervals, 22 of which are observed in a single sample. Biostratigraphic data available from the Khorbusuonka section indicate that the duration of the studied section is ∼3 Myr. A geomagnetic reversal frequency of 26 reversals per Myr is therefore estimated for the Drumian, reduced to 15 reversals per Myr if only the polarity intervals defined by at least two consecutive samples are retained. This is an extreme reversal rate, similar to that reported for the Late Ediacaran (late Precambrian), ∼50 Myr earlier, and proposed to be potentially linked to a late nucleation of the inner core. The reversal frequency appears to have drastically dropped for ∼3-4 Myr from a value probably >20 reversals per Myr during the Drumian to ∼1.5 reversals per Myr during the Furongian/Upper Cambrian. Such a sharp decrease is consistent with a transition at a ∼1-Myr timescale, probably caused by threshold effects in core processes, between two geodynamo modes, one characterized by reversals occurring at frequencies ranging from 1 to 5 reversals per Myr, and the other marked by hyperactivity of the reversing process, with reversal rates >15 reversals per Myr.
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 24, 2022 - 7:24:05 AM
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Yves Gallet, Vladimir Pavlov, Igor Korovnikov. Extreme geomagnetic reversal frequency during the Middle Cambrian as revealed by the magnetostratigraphy of the Khorbusuonka section (northeastern Siberia). EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, 2019, 528, pp. 1746-1763. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115823⟩. ⟨insu-03586596⟩



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