Brunhes-Matuyama magnetic reversal dated at 790,000 yr B.P. by marine-astronomical correlations

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Description :
The presence of the Brunhes-Matuyama magnetic reversal in deep-sea core sediments makes possible an alternative to the usual K/Ar radioisotope method of dating the reversal as found in rocks. The alternative method uses correlations of Northern Hemisphere summer insolation with oxygen-isotope ratios from tropical cores. The latitude-dependent insolation variations are calculated from planetary mechanics and thus provide a highly accurate astronomical time scale. The insolation variations strongly influence glacial-ice volume fluctuations that dominate the oxygenisotope ratio changes recorded in core sediments. The summer half-year insolation variations are identified with corresponding isotope-ratio changes in cores from the present through glacial Stage 20. During stages 1 to 10, major glacial extremes (strong isotope-ratio minima) coincide consistently with major insolation minima at times of low orbital eccentricity. In addition interstadials are directly associated with precessional insolation peaks, and the envelope of isotope-ratio peaks resembles the envelope of precessionally dominated insolation peaks. The assumption that the glacial extremes depended similarly on insolation minima during Stages 10 to 20 permits minor age shifts of strong isotope-ratio minima in the two cores (relative to ages based on uniform overall deposition) to match the ages of low-eccentricity insolation minima. The age shifts reflect residual nonuniformities of deposition. The validity of this matching procedure is supported by a resulting consistent identification of principal isotope-ratio peaks with high-and low-latitude coincident insolation maxima. The Brunhes-Matuyama reversal is found in interglacial Stage 19, and is dated on the astronomical time scale at 790,000 5 000 yr B.P.

Type de document :
Article de périodique

Source :
Quaternary research New York, 1982, vol. 17, n°. 2, p. 135-147, Références bibliographiques : 28 réf.

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