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Multidecadally Resolved Polarity Oscillations during a Geomagnetic Excursion
Y.-M. Chou*, X. Jiang, Q. Liu, H.-M. Hu, C.-C. Wu, J. Liu, Z. Jiang, T.-Q. Lee, C.-C. Wang, Y.-F. Song, C.-C. Chiang, L. Tan, M. A. Lone, Y. Pan, R. Zhu, Y. He, Y.-C. Chou, A.-H. Tan, A. P. Roberts, X
Polarity reversals of the geomagnetic field have occurred through billions of years of Earth history and were first revealed in the early 20th century. Almost a century later, details of transitional field behavior during geomagnetic reversals and excursions remain poorly known. Here, we present a multidecadally resolved geomagnetic excursion record from a radioisotopically dated Chinese stalagmite at 107–91 thousand years before present with age precision of several decades. The duration of geomagnetic directional oscillations ranged from several centuries at 106–103 thousand years before present to millennia at 98–92 thousand years before present, with one abrupt reversal transition occurring in one to two centuries when the field was weakest. These features indicate prolonged geodynamo instability. Repeated asymmetrical interhemispheric polarity drifts associated with weak dipole fields likely originated in Earth’s deep interior. If such rapid polarity changes occurred in future, they could severely affect satellites and human society.