Paleomagnetism Laboratory

Pal mag labA paleomagnetism laboratory is housed in a specially constructed room that eliminates the Earth's magnetic field to permit highly sensitive measurement of fossil magnetism preserved in rocks. Information about Earth's ancient magnetic field, as recorded in rocks and other geologic materials, is useful for determining samples' ages (through correlation of magnetic polarity) as well as past motions of the continents (through analysis of paleomagnetic poles).

Magnetizations are measured on either a 2G-755R cryogenic magnetometer or a Molspin spinner magnetometer. The 2G instrument features a fully automated sample transport system and on-line 2-axis static degausser, so that arbitrarily detailed sequences of stepwise alternating field demagnetization and magnetic remanence measurement are controlled by computer. A non-inductively wound ASC 48 specimen resistance furnace is used for thermal demagnetization experiments.

Ancillary equipment includes a Bartington MS-2 magnetic susceptibility bridge, an ASC impulse magnetizer for isothermal remanent magnetization studies, an Applied Physics gaussmeter, and numerous rock drills and other field sampling equipment.