Future Challenges in Magnetic Paleointensity Stratigraphy

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:00 AM
David Heslop1, Andrew P Roberts1 and Lisa Tauxe2, (1)Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, (2)Univ California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States
Magnetic paleointensity stratigraphy is used to detect variations in the strength of Earth's ancient magnetic field. The dominantly dipolar nature of geomagnetic paleointensity variations provides a global geophysical signal that has come to be used successfully to date Quaternary sediments. Despite many fruitful applications of paleointensity-assisted chronology, the mechanisms by which sediments become magnetized remain poorly understood and there is no satisfactory theoretical foundation for paleointensity estimation. Additionally, recent discoveries, such as the common occurrence of magnetofossils in marine sediments, have important implications for paleointensity reconstruction and present an exciting new challenge to our existing understanding of paleomagnetic signal acquisition. In this contribution we discuss challenges that need to be addressed to place paleointensity stratigraphy on a more secure foundation. These outstanding problems require concerted efforts to solve. Their resolution is essential in the development of paleointensity stratigraphy as a robust dating technique.