Geofisica pura e applicata

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 23–41

Palaeomagnetic and palaeoclimatological aspects of polar wandering

  • E. Irving


This paper contains a summary of all the published palaeomagnetic observations from rocks of Pre-Tertiary age.

Evidence is produced which shows that the ancient latitude deduced from the palaeomagnetic observations in several regions of the world, is similar to the latitude indicated for these same regions by palaeoclimatology. Thus it is reasonable to suppose that the magnetic and rotational axes of the Earth have approximately coincided since the Palaeozoic, as they are known to have done during the past 20 million years.

On the basis of this assumption two further points are made:
  1. 1)

    In Pre-Tertiary times the pole was a great distance away from the present position, but the pole positions given by data from Pre-Tertiary rocks from four continents do not agree one with another.

  2. 2)

    Although the palaeomagnetic and palaeoclimatic observations from thesame region agree, this is not so when palaeomagnetic observations from one region are compared against palaeoclimatic evidence from a distant region.


Both these results suggest that prior to Tertiary times the pole has not only shifted its position with respect to certain land-masses, but also that these land-masses have moved relative to one another.


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Copyright information

© Istituto Geofisico Italiano 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Irving

There are no affiliations available

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