Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

Living Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen Thompson

Magnetic Chronology

  • Manuel Calvo-Rathert
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_67-1


Study of the variations with time of the Earth’s magnetic field by the analysis of direction and intensity of magnetization recorded by rocks, sediments, and archaeological materials and its use for dating and chronological correlation purposes.

Variations of the Earth’s Magnetic Field

The present-day magnetic field at the surface of the Earth can be well approximated by an inclined magnetic dipole placed at the Earth’s center which forms an angle of ~11.5° with the rotation axis. Such a dipole accounts for nearly 90 % of the field at the Earth’s surface. The still significant amount remaining can be described by the non-dipole field. The Earth’s magnetic field (EMF) is, however, not static, as its direction and strength vary with time. This field variability spans time scales ranging from fractions of a second to millions of years. The short-term variations arise mostly from currents flowing in the ionosphere and magnetosphere. The slower changes are produced by the...


Magnetic Anomaly Secular Variation Archaeological Material Geomagnetic Polarity Ferromagnetic Mineral 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de FísicaEscuela Politécnica Superior, Universidad de BurgosAvenida de Cantabria s/nSpain