In this article we shall discuss how we can use the paleomagnetism in rocks to attach dates to them paleomagnetic dating. The reader may find it useful to go back and read the main article on paleomagnetism before continuing. Once we have dated a sufficient number of rocks and measured the orientation of the magnetism they contain, we can build up a picture of how the position or apparent position of the poles over time. So if we are then faced with a rock the date of which we do not know, then we do know of course the latitude and longitude at which we found it, and we can measure the orientation of its magnetism, and so we can look at the global picture we've built up of continental drift , and to figure out when the rock must have formed in order to have its magnetism oriented in just that direction.
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The Record of Time: Chronometric Techniques: Part I
E-mail address: Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more. Dating is achieved by comparison of paleomagnetic directions with a given reference curve of the paleosecular variation PSV of the geomagnetic field.
Controversy over Paleomagnetic Dating
Paleomagnetism or palaeomagnetism in the United Kingdom is the study of the record of the Earth's magnetic field in rocks, sediment, or archeological materials. Certain minerals in rocks lock-in a record of the direction and intensity of the magnetic field when they form. This record provides information on the past behavior of Earth's magnetic field and the past location of tectonic plates. The record of geomagnetic reversals preserved in volcanic and sedimentary rock sequences magnetostratigraphy provides a time-scale that is used as a geochronologic tool. Geophysicists who specialize in paleomagnetism are called paleomagnetists.
Despite seeming like a relatively stable place, the Earth's surface has changed dramatically over the past 4. Mountains have been built and eroded, continents and oceans have moved great distances, and the Earth has fluctuated from being extremely cold and almost completely covered with ice to being very warm and ice-free. These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing. As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils. A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.