People at Fort Hoofddijk

Andy Biggin

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(Postdoctoral fellow 2006-2009)
Dr. A.J. Biggin
Paleomagnetic Laboratory
Fort Hoofddijk
Now at
Geomagnetism Laboratory
School of Environmental sciences
University of Liverpool

Phone +44 151 794 3460

CV (pdf)
PINT08 database
MD model (zip)

Research of Andy Biggin

The full vector field of Earth's earliest geodynamo
One of the objectives of my research at Utrecht is to obtain reliable measurements of the full-vector of the geomagnetic field from some of the oldest rocks on Earth. The will provide information about the core of the Earth during its early history and will increase our understanding of the evolution of the planet's deep interior. 

The Barberton Belt in  South Africa - home to rocks which are up to 3.5 billion years old.
The Earth's magnetic field is of vital importance: its use in navigation is already well-known but it also protects life on Earth from harmful cosmic and solar radiation. The field is generated in the fluid outer core, but the solid inner core is important in strengthening and stabilizing it. The present field is well-characterised through satellite observations, but the ancient field is not so well understood. 
Very little is known about the geomagnetic field during Earth's early history, 3.5 to 2 billion years ago. It is possible that the Earth had no solid inner core: estimates for its age based on theoretical arguments rangefrom 3.5 to 1.0 Ga. Within this period, life began during a time when the field may have been weaker, and the Sun's radiation many times higher than today. We are trying to characterise the full vector of the early field, using the oldest possible paleomagnetic records. Our results are of fundamental importance for advancing numerical geodynamo models, and models on early solar radiation and atmospheric composition.

publicationsPublications of Andy Biggin

  • Biggin, A.J., de Wit, M.J., Langereis, C.G., Zegers, T.E., Voûte, S., Dekkers, M.J. and Drost, K. (2011). Palaeomagnetism of Archaean rocks of the Onverwacht Group, Barberton Greenstone Belt (southern Africa): evidence for a stable and potentially reversing geomagnetic field at ca. 3.5 Ga. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 302, 3414-328 
  • Deenen, M.H.L., Langereis,, C.G., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J. and Biggin, A.J. (2011). Geomagnetic secular variation and the statistics of palaeomagnetic directions, Geophys. J. Int., 186, 509-520     
  • Biggin, A.J. (2010). Are systematic differences between thermal and microwave Thellier-type palaeointensity estimates a consequence of multidomain bias in the thermal results ? Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 180, 16-40. 
  • Corrigendum for "Are systematic differences between thermal and microwave Thellier-type palaeointensity estimates a consequence of multidomain bias in the thermal results ?", Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 182, 199. 
  • Michalk, D.M., Biggin, A.J., Knudsen, M.F., Böhnel, H.N., Nowaczyk, N.R., Ownby, S. and López-Martinez, M. (2010). Application of the multi-specimen paleointensity method to Pleistocne lava flows from the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 179, 139-156. 
  • Biggin, A.J., Strik, G.H.M.A. & Langereis, C.G. (2009). The intensity of the geomagnetic field in the late-Archaean: new measurements and an analysis of the updated IAGA palaeointensity database, Earth, Planets & Space, 61, 9-22. 
  • Haldan, M.M., Langereis, C.G., Biggin, A.J., Dekkers, M.J. and Evans, M.E. (2009). A comparison of detailed equatorial red bed records of secular variation during the Permo-Carboniferous Reversed Superchron, Geophys. J. Int, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04124.x 
  • Biggin, A.J., Strik, G.H.M.A. & Langereis, C.G. (2008). Evidence for a very-long-term trend in geomagnetic secular variation, Nature Geoscience, 1(6), 395-398. News & Views by G. Hulot, Core Message, Nature Geoscience, 1(6), 345-346. 
  • Biggin, A.J., Van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Langereis, C.G., Straathof, G.B. and Deenen, M.H.L. (2008). Geomagnetic secular variation in the Cretaceous Normal Superchron and in the Jurassic, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 169, 3-19 
  • Shaw, J. and Biggin, A.J. (2008). Reply to comment on “A comparison of a quasi-perpendicular method of absolute palaeointensity determination with other thermal and microwave techniques”, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 265, 327.    Comment by Walton, D. and Boehnel, H. (2008), Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 265, 324-326. 
  • Biggin, A.J., Perrin, M., & Dekkers. M. J., (2007). A reliable absolute palaeointensity determination obtained from a non-ideal recorder. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 257, 545-563. 
  • Biggin, A.J., Perrin, M., & Shaw, J. (2007). A comparison of a Quasi-perpendicular method of absolute palaeointensity determination with other thermal and microwave techniques. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 257, 564-581. 
  • Biggin, A.J., & Perrin, M., (2007). The behaviour and detection of partial thermoremanent magnetisation (pTRM) tails in Thellier palaeointensity experiments. Earth, Planets, Space, 59, 717-725. 
  • Biggin, A.J., 2007. Scientific bodies must take own action on emissions, Nature, 448, 749.  Link to Nature
  • Biggin, A.J., & Poidras, T. (2006), First-order symmetry of partial thermoremanence in multi-domain ferromagnetic grains. 1. Experimental evidence and physical implications. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 245, 438-453. 
  • Biggin, A.J. (2006) First-order symmetry of partial thermoremanence in multi-domain ferromagnetic grains. 2. Implications for Thellier-type palaeointensity determination. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 245, 454-470. 
    • DOWNLOAD the phenomenological model (Zip file with instructions)
  • Hoffman, K., & Biggin, A.J. (2005). A rapid multiple-sample approach to the determination of absolute paleointensity J. Geophys. Res. 110, B12108, doi:10.1029/2005JB003646.  
  • Biggin, A.J. and Böhnel, H.N (2003). A method to reduce the curvature of pTRM-pNRM plots produced during Thellier palaeointensity experiments performed on multidomain grains. Geophys. J. Int. Fast track paper. 155, F13-F19. 
  • Biggin, A.J., Böhnel, H.N.  and Zúñiga, F.R. (2003). How many palaeointensity determinations are required from a single lava flow to constitute a reliable average? Geophys. Res. Lett. 30, 11, 10.1029/2003GL017146. 
  • Biggin, A.J. and Thomas, D.N. (2003). The application of selection criteria to results of Thellier palaeointensity experiments performed on samples dominated by pseudo-single domain grains. Phys. Earth Planet. Int. 138, 279-287.  
  • Biggin, A.J. and Thomas, D.N. (2003). Analysis of long-term variations in the geomagnetic poloidal field intensity and evaluation of their relationship with global geodynamics. Geophys. J. Int., 152, 392-415. 
  • Böhnel, H.N., Biggin, A.J., Walton, D., Share, J.A. and Shaw, J. (2003). Microwave palaeointensities from a single lava flow, baked sediments, and reheated pottery. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 214, 221-236. Also selected for inclusion in the electronic journal: ‘Experimental Earth’
  • Thomas, D.N. and Biggin, A.J. (2003). Did the Mesozoic dipole low really exist ? Eos, 84, 97-104.  
  • Thomas, D.N., Biggin, A.J. and Schmidt, P.W. (2000). A palaeomagnetic study of Jurassic intrusives from southern New South Wales: further evidence for the pre-Cenozoic dipole low. Geophys. J. Int. 140, 621-635 
    Piper, J.D.A., Biggin, A.J. and Crowley, S.F. (1999). Magnetic survey of the Poortown Dolerite, Isle of Man. In: Woodcock, N.H., Quirk, D.G., Fitches, W.R. & Barnes, R.P. (eds) 1999. In sight of the Suture: the Palaeozoic geology of the Isle of Man in its Iapetus Ocean context. Geol. Soc., London, spec. publ. 160, 155-163.