Sea-surface magnetic profiles exhibit coherent short wavelength "micro-anomalies" (or "tiny wiggles") superimposed to the main anomalies due to reversals. In this study, we investigate the nature and distribution of these tiny wiggles on oceanic crust formed during the similar to 42 Myr-long period following the Cretaceous Normal Superchron. To this end, we compute stacks of anomaly profiles from different areas in the Indian and the Pacific oceans. Using a simple method based on upward continuation, we demonstrate that, the tiny wiggles are consistent worldwide although their patterns exhibit different resolutions at different spreading rates. They are therefore confidently ascribed to past fluctuations of the geomagnetic dipole moment. A high resolution record of these fluctuations is obtained by selecting and stacking profiles from areas with the highest spreading rates. Modeling the micro-anomalies as short magnetic polarity intervals yields durations for these intervals generally shorter than 10 kyr, likely too short to be indeed "true" subchrons. Moreover, the number of detected tiny wiggles clearly depends on the spreading rate. These results support geomagnetic intensity fluctuations as being the cause of most tiny wiggles, as also suggested by recent magnetostratigraphic data. The tiny wiggles are uniformly distributed within clitoris, indicating that paleointensity fluctuations are neither inhibited after, nor enhanced before, a reversal beyond a "blind" zone of about 10 kin (corresponding to 80 to 250 kyr depending on the spreading rate) for which the anomalies due to reversals prevent the detection of tiny wiggles. Most tiny wiggles probably represent a filtered record of a uniform secular variation regime, as suggested by their uniform spatial distribution over the whole investigated period. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
CNRS, Inst Rech, Inst Phys Globe Paris, F-75005 Paris, France; Univ Paris 07, F-75005 Paris, FranceArticleEnglish