Geomagnetic field behaviour during the early Cretaceous Normal Superchron from palaeomagnetic analysis of the Ramon Volcanics, Israel

Neta Dembo, Erez Kraus, Irina Seliverstov, Gal Weissman, Roi Granot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unravelling the long-term behaviour of the geomagnetic field is crucial for understanding the dynamics of the deep Earth. Yet, obtaining an accurate measure of geomagnetic palaeosecular variations (PSV) is difficult, partly because of tectonically induced rotations that overprint the original palaeomagnetic signal. We present a detailed palaeomagnetic investigation based on 99 sampling sites collected from the 119 to 112.6 Ma Ramon Volcanics exposed near the dormant Ramon Fault, southern Israel. These basaltic rocks were emplaced at equatorial palaeolatitudes during the beginning of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron (CNS; 123.4-83.6 Ma), during which there were no polarity reversals. Structurally corrected remanence directions consistently vary across the investigated area, whereby the sites found near a sharp bend of the Ramon Fault are clockwise rotated, whereas the other sites show no obvious rotational pattern. Elasto-plastic modelling suggests that the rotations were induced by up to 1.5 km of dextral horizontal slip accommodated by the fault, consistent with previous geological and geophysical estimations. Considering the remanence directions obtained from sites that were not influenced by the fault, we calculated an SB value of $13.3_{ - 1.3}^{ + 1.9 \circ }$ (95 percent confidence, 46 sites), which corresponds to previous SB estimations from pre- and early-CNS volcanic bodies emplaced at low palaeolatitudes (λ < 20°). This observation suggests that the emergence of the superchron was not accompanied by a change in the behaviour of the geomagnetic PSV. Finally, our results, together with previous palaeo-equatorial observations, show that the middle part of the superchron had lower angular dispersion (i.e. lower SB) compared to the scatter that prevailed during the beginning of the superchron. This observation suggests that the geomagnetic field transitioned into a more axial dipole dominance state towards the middle part of the superchron. Altogether, our analysis indicates that the superchron cannot be treated as a period characterized by a steady-state field behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1982-1995
Number of pages14
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Fractures, faults, and high strain deformation zones
  • Numerical modelling
  • Palaeomagnetic secular variations
  • Palaeomagnetism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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