Origin of the smooth zone in early Cretaceous North Atlantic magnetic anomalies
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Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous marine magnetic anomalies observed in the North Atlantic exhibit an abrupt change in character in M5-M15 crust. The anomalies are smoother with low amplitudes, and are difficult to correlate among nearby profiles. The accepted explanation for the origin of this smooth zone is diminished resolution and anomaly interference due to slow spreading rates, which narrows the widths of polarity reversals in the crust and causes interference among sea-surface anomalies. Magnetic modeling of these anomalies indicates that neither slow spreading rates alone nor slow spreading rates in combination with a decrease in geomagnetic field intensity can explain the basic character of the smooth zone. Combined with other geophysical evidence, our study suggests that one consequence of slow spreading rates that is responsible for the magnetic “smooth zone” is a thinned crustal basalt layer or a non-basaltic magnetic source layer resulting from low melt supply during a period of ultra-slow spreading.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 37 (2010): L01304, doi:10.1029/2009GL040984.
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