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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2013 Jan;87(1):012108. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

Domino model for geomagnetic field reversals.

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Department of Physics, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo 112-8610, Japan.


We solve the equations of motion of a one-dimensional planar Heisenberg (or Vaks-Larkin) model consisting of a system of interacting macrospins aligned along a ring. Each spin has unit length and is described by its angle with respect to the rotational axis. The orientation of the spins can vary in time due to spin-spin interaction and random forcing. We statistically describe the behavior of the sum of all spins for different parameters. The term "domino model" in the title refers to the interaction among the spins. We compare the model results with geomagnetic field reversals and dynamo simulations and find strikingly similar behavior. The aggregate of all spins keeps the same direction for a long time and, once in a while, begins flipping to change the orientation by almost 180 degrees (mimicking a geomagnetic reversal) or to move back to the original direction (mimicking an excursion). Most of the time the spins are aligned or antialigned and deviate only slightly with respect to the rotational axis (mimicking the secular variation of the geomagnetic pole with respect to the geographic pole). Reversals are fast compared to the times in between and they occur at random times, both in the model and in the case of the Earth's magnetic field.

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