Scripps Institution of Oceanography
SIO 247: Rock & Paleomagnetism
- The behavior of the ancient geomagnetic field:
The magnetic field is on average similar to one that would be produced by a giant bar magnet at the center of the Earth, aligned with the axis of rotation. However, the direction (polarity) of the field changes frequently. For example, some 800,000 years ago, compasses (had they been invented) would have pointed south instead of north. These are the questions that haunt me:
- "How long has the geomagnetic field been essentially dipolar?"
- "Why does the magnetic field reverse?",
- "What is the relationship between the magnetic field and the Earth's orbit?"
- "How does mantle convection relate to the magnetic field?".
- Statistical analysis of paleomagnetic data:
Paleomagnetic data are inherently noisy. What conclusions are warrented by a given data set and how to constrain the uncertainties have been of concern to paleomagnetists since the early 50's. Fast computers with big memories allow new methods for decision making.
- Applications of paleomagnetic data to geological problems such as:
- the use of paleomagnetic data for geochronological control
- the use of paleointensity variations as an additional magnetostratigraphic tool
- applications of rock magnetic tools for recognizing environmental change
- new approaches to understanding rock fabrics
- the use of paleomagnetic data in structural and tectonic problems