Magnetics Group Banner

Research Highlights

Jurassic Magnetism - Near-bottom magnetic record

Jurassic-aged ocean crust represents the oldest surviving ocean crust in the world today and consequently only resides in a few places, such as along the continental margins of the Atlantic Ocean and in the western Pacific Ocean. This Jurassic crust is marked by the disappearance of correlatable magnetic anomaly stripes in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, thus leading to name of the "Jurassic Quiet Zone" or JQZ [Larson and Chase, 1972; Larson and Hilde, 1975; Cande et al, 1978; Vogt and Einwich, 1979]. The precise origin of the JQZ is unclear. It could be period of constant polarity similar to the more well-known the Cretaceous Quiet Zone. It could be that the crust has suffered sufficient aging that the signal has been totally degraded. The equatorial latitude of the Pacific JQZ and deep water depths has meant that sea surface magnetic profiles are contaminated by noise from the strong diurnal and magnetic effects of the equatorial electrojet, so even measuring the magnetic field in these areas is difficult.

I was Co-Principal Investigator with Paul Johnson (U Washington) and Will Sager (TAMU) on a 1992 deeptowed-magnetic survey of the JQZ in the western Pacific. This survey found correlatable magnetic lineations within the Jurassic Quiet Zone proving that the field was reversing quite fast (8-10 revs/million years) during this period. A paper was been published in Journal of Geophysical Research, 1998 on the results of this study.

I was Co-Chief Scientist on RV Thompson (TN152) with Will Sager again in 2002/2003 when we revisited the area using the deeptow-towed DSL-120 sidescan sonar and magnetometer to extend the high-resolution survey south to ODP Hole 801C and also complete a detailed survey around the hole. Several papers have been published on those results (Tivey et al., 2006; Tominaga et al., 2008); see links to them below.

In 2011, I was a Co-Principal Investigator again, this time with Masako Tominaga (Mich. State Univ) on a deeptow and autonomous underwater vehicle (Sentry) survey of the Pacific Hawaiian magnetic record. As part of this RV Thompson (TN272) marine survey we had a significant outreach component with Prof. Adrienne Oakley of Kutztown University who brought undergraduates out on the research vessel with an innovative outreach program.

Most recently I completed a 2014/2015 cruise onboard the newly launched icebreaker RV Sikuliaq where we took the ship to the tropical Pacific to complete the transect we started in 2011 on the Hawaiian lineations. This cruise with CoPIs Masako Tominaga (TAMU) and Will Sager (Houston) successfully completed seven long AUV Sentry dives along the transect corridor along with deeptow and sea surface towed magnetic profiles.

Data Links

Historical JQZ cruise data from 1992 (and soon 2002/2003 cruise) will be available from the IEDA-MGDS database. This was part of a small data rescue project to Maurice Tivey made possible by IEDA.

Links to published papers

Click here to go to the results from the 1992 survey.

Link to the 2002/2003 survey that extended the survey south and over Hole 801C

Link to the 2011 page documenting the survey of the Jurassic Pacific Hawaiian lineations

Link to the 2014 page documenting the AUV survey of the Jurassic Pacific Hawaiian lineations



© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. All rights reserved

Link back to Woods Hole Oceanographic Home Page