The Laschamp event was a short reversal of the Earth's magnetic field. It occurred 41,400 (±2,000) years ago during the end of the Last Glacial Period and was first recognised in the late 1960s as a geomagnetic reversal recorded in the Laschamps lava flows in the Clermont-Ferrand district of France.
The magnetic excursion has since been demonstrated in geological archives from many parts of the world. The period of reversed magnetic field was approximately 440 years, with the transition from the normal field lasting approximately 250 years. The reversed field was 75% weaker, whereas the strength dropped to only 5% of the current strength during the transition. This reduction in geomagnetic field strength resulted in more cosmic rays reaching the Earth, causing greater production of the cosmogenic isotopes beryllium 10 and carbon 14.
The Australian Research Council is funding research to analyze a kauri tree uncovered in New Zealand in 2019 that, according to carbon-dating, was alive during this period (41,000-42,500 years ago).
The Laschamp event was the first known geomagnetic excursion and remains the most thoroughly studied among the known geomagnetic excursions.
- Bonhommet, N.; Zähringer, J. (1969). "Paleomagnetism and potassium argon age determinations of the Laschamp geomagnetic polarity event". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 6: 43–46. doi:10.1016/0012-821x(69)90159-9.
- Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (16 October 2012). "An extremely brief reversal of the geomagnetic field, climate variability and a super volcano". Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- Piper, Denise (2019). "Ancient Northland kauri tree reveals secrets of Earth's polar reversal". i.stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- Laj, C.; Channell, J. E. T. (2007). "5.10 Geomagnetic Excursions" (PDF). elsevier.com. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
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