Magnetostratigraphic dating is one of the several paleomagnetism tools, being a field that was essential to develop the tectonic plate’s theory.

Elisabet Beamud, from the Paleomagnetism laboratory (CCiTUB-CSIC), y Miguel Garcès, from Geomodels Institute Research and Earth and Ocean Dynamic department in Barcelona University (UB), have published ‘Geochronology: Magnetostratigraphic dating’, a new Geological Encyclopedia chapter, which aims to explain the research basis of this tool.

In this publication, researchers focus on magnetoestratigraphy, an important dating tool that is used for almost every sedimentary material and for determining the geological time scale when combined with biostratigraphy and geochronology.

“Dating sedimentary series is important to know the deposits' age and to relate them with specific geological events for calculating the geological process rates”, explains Bet Beamud, GEO3BCN-CSIC the Paleomagnetism laboratory technical director.

In this chapter, the authors explain how the discovery of the field geomagnetic inversions allows the construction of the geomagnetic polarity time scale, the sediments magnetization origin, and methodologic elements, such as the material sampling and the laboratory analysis. Besides, dating examples made by the CCiTUB-CSIC laboratory have been included in the book.

“We have tried to give a wide view of the magnetostratigraphic dating and to explain methodologic elements, application examples and technical limitations”, them researcher points out.

According to Beamud, they have highlighted that the “geomagnetic polarity time scale is not a static element, but it is in continuous improvement when bio-, geo- and astrocronologics are incorporated”. Moreover, she adds, they point out “long and continuous stratigraphic series are needed to provide added value to magnetostratigraphy in the dating, which cannot be obtained by other technics”.

Regarding the magnetostratigraphic challenge, Beamud highlights one of their ongoing works, which consists in obtaining robust timescales of past climate events and their response to the sedimentary media. According to the researcher, this study is important to understand the evolution during the Cenozoic period.

“Specifying the climate events timeline and how they affect the sedimentary media can be used to understand current climate changes”, says Beamud.

The researcher thinks that paleomagnetism, geology and Earth Sciences in general deserve more attention in the scientific field: “These fields are forgotten; even we live on planet Earth”. “Knowing and understanding how our home works is essential for our survival”, says the coauthor.

In this sense, Beamud points out the importance of paleomagnetism: “The geomagnetic field creates a shield that protects human beings against solar radiation, which is essential to live on Earth. So, the study and comprehension of these variations, both the direction and the intensity have important implication for people's wellbeing on our planet”.

Original article

Garcés, M., & Beamud, E. (2021). Magnetostratigraphic Dating (D. Alderton & S. A. B. T.-E. of G. (Second E. Elias (eds.); pp. 140–152). Academic Press.


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