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A planet hangs in the balance: what about an impending geomagnetic reversal or excursion? Looking at the past and the present to understand the future

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The geomagnetic field is an important property of our planet, originating in its deep interior: it reflects the complex dynamics of the terrestrial outer core, which is far from stable and predictable. While at first glance it appears to be possessing a smoothed paleosecular variation, it actually suffers ...

The geomagnetic field is an important property of our planet, originating in its deep interior: it reflects the complex dynamics of the terrestrial outer core, which is far from stable and predictable. While at first glance it appears to be possessing a smoothed paleosecular variation, it actually suffers continuous but temporally chaotic abrupt changes with different timescales; from rapid jerks to changes of polarity, such as the excursions and reversals.
The origin and explanation of these features of the paleofield are a forefront research area within the Solid Earth Sciences. For example, there is a lively debate on the origin of jerks and how long they last. Regarding the excursions, some studies show durations around 3kyr during which the geomagnetic field in the outer core reverses polarity without a field reversal in the solid inner core.
Some of the well-known characteristics during an excursion or change of polarity are a decrease in the strength of the axial dipole, a substantial transitional equatorial dipole, and a reduced non-dipole field relative to the axial dipole. Currently, some of these characteristics are presented in the behavior of the geomagnetic field, questioning a possible impending transition toward an excursion or reversal. In this topic, palaeomagnetic and geomagnetic works focused on the previous discussion are welcome in order to shed more light on these intriguing behaviors of the geomagnetic field, whose possible consequences to the planet, in general, and the biosphere, in particular, could be significant.


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