Encyclopedia of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism

2007 Edition
| Editors: David Gubbins, Emilio Herrero-Bervera

Magnetostratigraphy

  • William Lowrie
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4423-6_206

Magnetostratigraphy refers to the description, correlation, and dating of rock sequences by means of magnetic parameters. A rock interval in which a magnetic parameter has a constant value is called a magnetozone. Most commonly, the parameter is the polarity of the Earth's magnetic field during acquisition of a primary magnetization that is contemporaneous with the rock formation. Magnetozones of alternating polarity yield a magnetic polarity stratigraphy. This form of magnetostratigraphy plays an important role in the construction of geomagnetic polarity timescales. However, in principle, any rock magnetic parameter can serve as a magnetostratigraphic indicator.

Although the most widespread and successful use of magnetostratigraphy has been in sediments and sedimentary rocks, the method can be applied to any succession of layered rocks. In igneous rocks and high‐deposition rate sediments, magnetostratigraphy provides fine details of geomagnetic field behavior. For example, the...

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© Springer-Verlag 2007

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  • William Lowrie

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