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Title: Palaeomagnetic and geochemical characterisation of geomagnetic excursions in the Quaternary
Author: Bourne, Mark David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 4054
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Geomagnetic excursions, brief deviations in geomagnetic field behaviour from that expected during 'normal' secular variation, remain some of the most enigmatic features of geomagnetic field behaviour. This thesis presents high-resolution records of geomagnetic excursions recorded at the Blake-Bahama Outer Ridge in the Western North Atlantic. The highest resolution record yet of the Blake geomagnetic excursion (~125 ka) is measured in three cores from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1062 (ODP Leg 172). These cores have sufficiently high sedimentation rates (>10 cm ka-1) to allow detailed reconstruction of the field behaviour at these sites during the excursions. Previous reconstructions of geomagnetic field behaviour during excursions from marine cores have been limited by low-resolution age models. This thesis discusses a new approach, whereby measurements of excess 230Th (230Thxs) are used to constrain relative variations in sedimentation rate. Modifications are suggested to the methods previously used to calculate the concentration of 230Thxs and a new MATLAB® program is developed and described that allows rapid and flexible calculation of 230Thxs. Using this new approach, the duration (6.5±1.3 kyr) and age (129-122 ka) of the Blake excursion are accurately constrained. A palaeomagnetic study is also conducted on two ODP Sites, 1061 and 1062 on the Blake-Bahama Outer Ridge to obtain a high-resolution record of the Laschamp geomagnetic excursion (~41 ka). The Blake excursion is found to be of 'long' duration (6.5±1.3 kyr) whilst the Laschamp excursion is relatively short (<400 years) showing that excursions do not have a characteristic duration, linked to the conductivity of the inner core, but instead occupy a continuous range of durations. The records of both the Blake excursion and the Laschamp excursion from the Blake-Bahama Ridge sites also show rapid transitions to excursional geomagnetic pole positions (less than 500 years), much faster than often quoted for full geomagnetic reversals. Based on current estimates for reversal durations, this would imply that excursions and reversals are controlled by different processes.
Supervisor: Mac Niocaill, Conall; Henderson, Gideon M. Sponsor: NERC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Palaeomagnetism and rock magnetism ; Earth ; Geochemistry ; Earth sciences ; geomagnetic reversals ; geomagnetic excursions ; uranium-series ; sedimentation rate