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generally assumed that polarity intervals are exponentially distributed. Here, the geomagnetic polarity reversal
record, for the past 166 Ma, is analysed and a new approach to the study of the reversals is presented. In detail, the
occurrence of 1/f-noise in the Power Spectral Density (PSD), relative to geomagnetic fi eld reversals, the existence
of a Zipf's law behaviour for the cumulative distribution of polarity intervals, and the occurrence of punctuated
equilibrium, as shown by a sort of Devil's staircase for the reversal time series, are investigated. Our results give
a preliminary picture of the dynamical state of the geomagnetic dynamo suggesting that the geodynamo works in
a marginally stable out-of-equilibrium confi guration, and that polarity reversals are equivalent to a sort of phase
transition between two metastable states.
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