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Improving our knowledge of rapid geomagnetic field intensity changes observed in Europe between 200 and 1400 AD

AuthorsGómez-Paccard, Miriam ; Chauvin, A.; Lanos, P.; Dufresne, P.; Kovacheva, M.; Hill, M.J.; Beamud, Elisabet ; Blain, S.; Bouvier, A.; Guibert, P.
dipole moment
secular variation
Issue Date2012
CitationEarth and Planetary Sciences Letters 355-356: 131- 143 (2012)
AbstractAvailable archaeomagnetic data indicate that during the past 2500. yr there have been periods of rapid geomagnetic field intensity fluctuations interspersed with periods of almost constant field strength. Despite Europe being the most widely covered region in terms of archaeomagnetic data the occurrence and the behaviour of these rapid geomagnetic field intensity changes is under discussion and the challenge now is to precisely describe them. The aim of this study is to obtain an improved description of the sharp intensity change that took place in western Europe around 800 AD as well as to investigate if this peak is observed at the continental scale. For this purpose 13 precisely dated early medieval Spanish pottery fragments, four archaeological French kilns and three collections of bricks used for the construction of different French historical buildings with ages ranging between 335 and 1260 AD have been studied. Classical Thellier experiments performed on 164 specimens, and including anisotropy of thermoremanent magnetisation and cooling rate corrections, gave 119 reliable results. The 10 new high-quality mean archaeointensities obtained confirm the existence of an intensity maximum of ~85 οT (at the latitude of Paris) centred at ~800 AD and suggest that a previous abrupt intensity change occurred around 600 AD. Together with previously published data from western Europe that we deem to be the most reliable, the new data also suggest the existence of two other abrupt geomagnetic field intensity variations during the 12th century and around the second half of the 13th century AD. High-quality archaeointensities available from eastern Europe indicate that very similar geomagnetic field intensity changes occurred in this region. European data indicate that very rapid intensity changes (of at least 20 οT/century) took place in the recent history of the Earth's magnetic field. The results call for additional high-quality archaeointensities obtained from precisely dated samples and for a selection of the previously published data if a refined description of geomagnetic field intensity changes at regional scales is to be obtained. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2012.08.037
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.08.037
issn: 0012-821X
Appears in Collections:(Geo3Bcn) Artículos
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