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Journal Articles Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors Year : 2023

Mantle-driven north–south dichotomy in geomagnetic polar minima


The geomagnetic field on the core-mantle boundary (CMB) is characterized by weak or even reversed field in the polar regions and intense flux patches at the edges of the intersection of the inner-core tangent cylinder (TC) with the CMB. This high-latitude field morphology is in agreement with thermal wind theory inside the TC in which polar upwellings disperse magnetic field lines. Furthermore, inferences from the geomagnetic secular variation hint to the presence of a westward jet at high latitudes of the northern hemisphere, also in agreement with the TC dynamical theory, but not in the southern hemisphere. Here we study polar minima in an ensemble of geomagnetic field models that span the historical era and in a set of numerical dynamo simulations with a heterogeneous outer boundary heat flux inferred from a tomographic model of lowermost mantle seismic anomalies. We quantified the polar minima using a previously-proposed expression as well as a new measure which may better capture this phenomenon. We found that throughout the historical era the geomagnetic field is characterized by stronger polar minima and more reversed flux inside the northern TC than inside the southern TC. Likewise, almost all dynamo models exhibit on average stronger polar minima in the northern hemisphere. This north/south dichotomy is explained in terms of the pattern of lowermost mantle seismic anomalies, in particular the southern centers of the two Large Low Shear-wave Velocity Provinces below Africa and the Pacific. We also investigated polar minima in planets where magnetic field models at the top of the dynamo region are available. We speculate that the absence of polar minima in Mercury's field is likely due to the thick stratified layer at the top of its core, while the strong polar minima in Jupiter's field might have a different dynamical origin than the geomagnetic polar minima.
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hal-04043018 , version 1 (23-03-2023)



Maxime Lézin, Hagay Amit, Filipe Terra-Nova, Ingo Wardinski. Mantle-driven north–south dichotomy in geomagnetic polar minima. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 2023, 337, pp.107000. ⟨10.1016/j.pepi.2023.107000⟩. ⟨hal-04043018⟩
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