Direct measurement of magnetic reversal polarity boundaries in a cross-section of oceanic crust
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Magnetic field measurements made by submersible define the cross-sectional geometry of a magnetic polarity reversal boundary and the vertical variation of crustal magnetization in upper oceanic crust. Measured polarity boundaries show a systematic pattern of shallow dip towards the spreading axis within the upper extrusive lavas, and steeper dip in the lower extrusive lavas. This geometry is a consequence of the emplacement of extrusive lava at a midocean ridge. Reversal boundary geometry and magnetization estimates are used to calculate the magnetic contribution of the extrusive lava sequence to the overlying marine magnetic anomaly signal. From the forward modeling, the highly magnetized extrusive lavas contribute the majority (50-75%) of the observed sea surface magnetic anomaly, consistent with the extrusive crust forming the primary source layer for young marine magnetic anomalies.