Plate tectonics may control geomagnetic reversal frequency
Article first published online: 11 OCT 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 38, Issue 19, October 2011
How to Cite
2011), Plate tectonics may control geomagnetic reversal frequency, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L19303, doi:10.1029/2011GL048784., , and (
- Issue published online: 11 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 11 OCT 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 1 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Received: 4 JUL 2011
- plate tectonics;
 The discovery of the reversals of Earth's magnetic field and the description of plate tectonics are two of the main breakthroughs in geophysics in the 20th century. We claim that these two phenomena are correlated and that plate tectonics controls long-term changes in geomagnetic reversal frequency. More precisely, geological intervals characterized by an asymmetrical distribution of the continents with respect to the equator are followed by intervals of high reversal frequency. We speculate that the distribution and symmetry of mantle structures driving continental motions at the surface influence the equatorial symmetry of the flow within the core and thus change the coupling between the dipolar and quadrupolar modes which controls the occurrence of reversals.