Paleomagnetic constraints on the Holocene stratigraphy of the Arctic Alaskan margin

Agathe Lisé-Pronovost, Guillaume St-Onge, Stefanie Brachfeld, Francesco Barletta, Dennis Darby

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51 Scopus citations


Two long Holocene piston cores (HLY0501-06JPC and -08JPC; herein after referred to as 6JPC and 8JPC) were raised from high sediment accumulation areas in the Arctic Alaskan margin in order to reconstruct the millennial- to centennial-scale behavior of Earth's magnetic field and to better constrain the regional chronostratigraphy of the Western Arctic. Paleomagnetic analyses using a u-channel cryogenic magnetometer (natural, anhysteretic and isothermal remanent magnetizations: NRM, ARM and IRM) and a vibrating sample magnetometer indicate that a strong and stable single component characteristic remanent magnetization carried by low coercivity pseudo-single domain (PSD) grains such as magnetite can be isolated in the postglacial unit of both cores, where the inclination values vary around the geocentric axial dipole (GAD) for the latitude of the coring sites and where the maximum angular deviation (MAD) values are generally lower than 5°. Apart from one interval in each core, all the derived relative paleointensity proxies (NRM/kLF, NRM/ARM and NRM/IRM) yield similar results. NRM/IRM was used as the preferred proxy because, based on cross-spectral analysis, it is not coherent with its normalizer. Based on the comparison with paleomagnetic records from Western North America, the paleomagnetic and physical analyses indicate that both sedimentary sequences have recorded some of the first reliable Arctic high-resolution records of paleomagnetic secular variation (inclination and declination) and relative paleointensity during the Holocene. In addition, full vector paleomagnetic correlations (inclination, declination and relative paleointensity) were used to constrain the chronology of core 6JPC, using core 8JPC and other previously published and independently dated sedimentary and volcanic records from Western North America. The Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy (AMS) radiocarbon-based postglacial chronology of core 8JPC indicates sedimentation rates higher than 300 cm/kyr on the continental shelf near Barrow Canyon from approximately 8000 to 5000 cal BP, followed by a major decrease in sediment deposition. In contrast, the postglacial deposition on the slope at core site 6JPC is relatively constant and sedimentation rates are nearly three times lower.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Arctic
  • Holocene
  • marine sediment
  • paleomagnetic secular variation
  • paleomagnetism
  • relative paleointensity


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