This chapter highlights the ways in which rocks become magnetized. It also interprets paleomagnetic results in terms of the theories of polar wandering, continental drift, and an expanding Earth. The chapter describes the salient characteristics and trends of the geomagnetic field during the period of direct observation. Several questions are posed concerning the extension of these properties back to earlier times. Some of these questions can now be answered from the results of paleomagnetic research. The intensity of the main dipole component of the geomagnetic field appears to have been decreasing since well before the period of direct observation. Furthermore, two important properties of the geomagnetic field have been established by spherical harmonic analysis. First, the field is derivable from a potential and, hence, contributions to the total field from currents flowing across the Earth–air interface are negligibly small. Secondly, 2–5% of the field is of external origin and is because of movements of charged particles in the space around the Earth.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series title||Advances in Geophysics|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|