Heat flow and magnetization in the oceanic lithosphere

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Marine Geology and Geophysics

First Committee Member

Christopher G. A. Harrison, Committee Chair


Two aspects of the processing and interpretation of satellite measurements of the geomagnetic field are described. One deals with the extraction of the part of the geomagnetic field that originates from sources in the earth's lithosphere. The other investigates the possibility of using the thermal state of the oceanic lithosphere to further constrain modelling and interpretation of magnetic anomalies.We show that some of the magnetic signal in crustal anomaly maps can be an artifact of the mathematical algorithms that have been used to separate the crustal field from the observed data. Strong magnetic anomalies can be distorted but are probably real, but weak magnetic anomalies can arise from leakage of power from short wavelengths, and will also appear in anomaly maps as repetitions of the strong crustal anomaly. The distortion and the ghost anomalies follow the magnetic dip lines in a way that is similar to actual MAGSAT anomaly fields. This phenomenon will also affect the lower degree spherical harmonic terms in the power spectrum of the crustal field.A model of the magnetic properties of the oceanic crust, that has been derived from direct measurements of the rock magnetic properties of oceanic rocks, is presented. The average intensity of magnetization in the oceanic crust is not strong enough to explain magnetic anomalies observed over oceanic areas. This is the case for both near surface observations (ship and aeromagnetic data) and satellite altitude observations. We show that magnetic sources in the part of the upper mantle that is situated above the Curie isotherm, if sufficiently strong, can produce satellite magnetic anomalies that are comparable to MAGSAT data. The method that we have developed for the study of depth to the Curie isotherm and magnetic anomalies can also be used in inverse modelling of satellite magnetic anomalies when the model is to be adjusted with an annihilator.



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