Bonilla-Alba, R., Gómez-Paccard, M., Pavón-Carrasco, F. J., Río, J. d., Beamud, E., Martínez-Ferreras, V., et al. (2021). Rapid intensity decrease during the second half of the first millennium BCE in Central Asia and global implications. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 126, e2021JB022011.


Recent paleomagnetic studies have shown that important short-lived intensity fluctuations occurred during the first millennium BCE. However, the knowledge of the spatial and temporal extension of these features is still limited by the scarce availability of robust data. In this study we focus on the study of the intensity decrease that took place in Central Asia during the second half of the 1st millennium BCE after the high intensities that characterized the Levantine Iron Age Anomaly. Since previous archeointensities available for this period and region were obtained without accomplishing modern standards of quality, we present here new archeointensities that are derived from classical Thellier and Thellier experiments, including partial thermoremanent magnetization (pTRM) checks, thermoremanent magnetization (TRM) anisotropy and cooling rate corrections at the specimen level. The new 51 archeointensities, together with previous archeointensities, have been used to present a new local paleosecular variation curve for Central Asia. The results confirm the existence of an important geomagnetic field intensity decrease in South Uzbekistan from the 4th century BCE to the end of the 1st century BCE associated with rates of changes up to -15 µT/century. A critical analysis of the archeointensity global database indicates that this feature was present at continental scale, from Western Europe to Central Asia. However, this trend is not identified in other regions such as Japan or Mexico. Finally, the comparison with the dipole moment derived from recent global geomagnetic field reconstructions suggests a strong influence of non-dipolar sources upon this continental intensity feature.

Reference article

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