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Authors: Roberts, A. P.* 
Florindo, F.* 
Larrasoaña, J. C.* 
O'Regan, M. A.* 
Zhao, X.* 
Title: Complex polarity pattern at the former Plio–Pleistocene global stratotype section at Vrica (Italy): Remagnetization by magnetic iron sulphides
Journal: Earth and Planetary Science Letters 
Series/Report no.: / 292 (2010)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Issue Date: 2010
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.01.025
Keywords: Pliocene
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.06. Paleomagnetism 
04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.07. Rock magnetism 
Abstract: The Vrica section in Calabria, southern Italy, was the global stratotype for the Pliocene–Pleistocene boundary until this boundary was redefined in 2009. Several paleomagnetic investigations have been carried out at Vrica to determine the age of the formerly defined Pliocene–Pleistocene boundary, which was a key calibration point for the astronomical polarity timescale(APTS). Each study has documented a complex polarity pattern at and above the top of the Olduvai subchron and in relation to the existence of the so-called Vrica subchron. When constructing the APTS, two alternative interpretations for the Vrica section were proposed,neither of which could be conclusively supported. Authigenic growth of magnetic iron sulphide minerals was proposed to explain the complex magnetic polarity record. Availability of a fresh 50-m sediment core enabled us to test this possibility. Our magnetostratigraphic record is similar to that of previous studies, but it is also complex above the Olduvai subchron. We confirm abundant occurrences of authigenic greigite and pyrrhotite, along with detrital titanomagnetite. Authigenic monoclinic pyrrhotite indicates growth significantly later than deposition, and greigite can grow at any time during diagenesis, depending on the availability of dissolved iron and sulphide. The spatially variable magnetic polarity pattern at Vrica is therefore interpreted to have resulted from post-depositional magnetic iron sulphide formation at variable times. Tectonism along the Calabrian arc provides a plausible mechanism for forcing reducing fluids through the sediments, thereby supplying the dissolved ions needed to produce late diagenetic sulphide growth and remagnetization. The complex magnetostratigraphic record at Vrica was taken into account when the APTS was developed, and alternative interpretations result in a maximum age difference of 50 kyr for the upper Olduvai reversal. Our results therefore do not undermine the APTS. Rather, they explain the complex magnetic polarity pattern at this globally important location and highlight the importance of remagnetization processes in such sediments.
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