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A paleosecular variation (PSV) curve for western North America is presented on the basis of 94 virtual geomagnetic poles (VGPs) from dated volcanic rocks sampled at 446 sites. Approximately 60% of the paleomagnetic database has been previously published. A curve defined by "spherical smoothed splines" is fitted to the VGPs, ranked by the quality of the age determinations, where the data density is highest between 3690 and -30 years before present (B.P.) (A.D. 1950), between 7800 and 7050 years B.P., and between 14,060 and 12,700 years B.P. The younger segments of the curve derived from volcanic rocks are similar but less complex than other high-resolution PSV curves derived from lacustrine sediments, particularly the record at Fish Lake, Oregon. The PSV record from lava flows (PSVL), however, is perhaps more reliable in its general shape and chronology because of the higher fidelity of volcanic rocks as magnetic field recorders and because of the greater density of 14C dates. The new PSVL record provides a partial Holocene master curve for western North America and will be of particular value in dating geological and archeological materials using paleomagnetic directions.
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A Holocene paleosecular variation from 14C-dated volcanic rocks in Western North America