Letter | Published:

Maximum Entropy Power Spectrum of Long Period Geomagnetic Reversals


CRAIN et al.1 computed a power spectrum of the proportions of normal polarity measurements during the Phanerozoic, and their results were used as parameters for a stochastic model for geomagnetic reversals2. New data presented by McElhinny3 warrant a re-examination of the power spectrum of reversals during the Phanerozoic. Whereas Crain et al.1 used a hanning window in an attempt to minimize the end effects of the short record, a radically different approach, proposed by Burg4, is used in this note. The purpose of this letter is to point out the existence of a powerful new method for the analysis of short records.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Crain, I. K., Crain, P. L., and Plant, M. G., Nature, 223, 283 (1969).

  2. 2

    Crain, I. K., and Crain, P. L., Nature, 228, 39 (1970).

  3. 3

    McElhinny, M. W., Science, 172, 157 (1971).

  4. 4

    Burg, J. P., Geophysics, 36, 661 (1971).

  5. 5

    Jones, R. A., Technometrics, 7, 531 (1965).

  6. 6

    Blackman, R. B., and Tukey, J. W., The Measurement of Power Spectra (Dover, New York, 1958).

  7. 7

    Toman, K., J. Geophys. Res., 70, 1749 (1965).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.