Revisiting the jurassic geomagnetic reversal recorded in the Lesotho basalt (Southern africa)

M Prevot*, N Roberts, J Thompson, L Faynot, M Perrin, P Camps

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We carried out a detailed and continuous palaeomagnetic sampling of the reversed to normal geomagnetic transition recorded by some 60 consecutive flowunits near the base of the Lesotho Basalt (183 +/- 1 Ma). After alternating field or thermal cleaning the directions of remanence are generally well clustered within flow units. In contrast, the thermal instability of the samples did not allow us to obtain reliable palaeointensity determinations. The geomagnetic transition is incompletely recorded due to a gap in volcanic activity attested to both by eolian deposits and a large angular distance between the field directions of the flows underlying or overlying these deposits. The transition path is noticeably different from that reported in a pioneering work carried out in 1962. The most transitional virtual geomagnetic poles (VGPs) are observed after the volcanic hiatus. Once continents are replaced in their relative position 180 Myr, the post-hiatus VGPs cluster over Russia. However, two successive rebounds from that cluster are found, with VGPs reaching repeatedly the Eastern Asia coast. Thus, the VGP path is not narrowly constrained in palaeolongitude. The decrease in intensity of magnetization as the field deviates from the normal or reversed direction suggests that the decrease in field magnitude during the reversal reached 80-90 per cent. We conclude that although the reversal is of a dipole of much weaker moment than that which existed on average during Cenozoic time, the characteristics of the reversing geodynamo seem to be basically similar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-378
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Volume155
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • field reversal
  • geomagnetism
  • Jurassic
  • palaeomagnetism
  • palaeointensity
  • Southern Africa
  • EARTHS MAGNETIC-FIELD
  • POLARITY TRANSITION
  • PALEOSECULAR VARIATION
  • STORMBERG LAVAS
  • PALEOINTENSITY
  • INTENSITY
  • OREGON
  • PALAEOMAGNETISM
  • PALEOMAGNETISM
  • BEHAVIOUR

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