A simple model for geomagnetic field excursions and inferences for palaeomagnetic observations

M. C. Brown, M. Korte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We explore simple excursion scenarios by imposing changes on the axial dipole component of the Holocene geomagnetic field model CALS10k.2 and investigate implications for our understanding of palaeomagnetic observations of excursions. Our findings indicate that globally observed directions of fully opposing polarity are only possible when the axial dipole reverses: linearly decaying the axial dipole to zero and then reestablishing it with the same sign produces a global intensity minimum, but does not produce fully reversed directions globally. Reversing the axial dipole term increases the intensity of the geomagnetic field observed at Earth's surface across the mid-point of the excursion, which results in a double-dip intensity structure during the excursion. Only a limited number of palaeomagnetic records of excursions contain such a double-dip intensity structure. Rather, the maximum directional change is coeval with a geomagnetic field intensity minimum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MCB is funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinshcaft (DFG) SPP PlanetMag 1488 project BR4697/1. Richard Holme initiated the idea on which this work is based on and along with Norbert Nowaczyk is thanked for comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Roman Leonhardt and Karl Fabian are thanked for providing the IMOLE model. A thorough and constructive review by Andrew Roberts improved this manuscript. Some of the figures were made using Generic Mapping Tools ( Wessel and Smith, 1998 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • CALS10k.2
  • Excursions
  • Geomagnetism
  • Palaeomagnetism


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