Palaeomagnetism: Logic Reversals


UPDATE 17 June 2015
The illusory Settled Science of Palaeomagnetism morphs into the realm of Super Surreal Science [a brand new category] simply because they forgot all about Photomagnetism.

On the Magnetising Power of the Solar Rays

Professor Barlocci found that an armed natural loadstone, which could carry l.5 Roman pounds, had its power nearly doubled by twenty-four hours’ exposure to the strong light of the sun.

M. Zantedeschi found that an artificial horse-shoe loadstone, which carried 13.5 oz., carried 3.5 more by three days’ exposure, and at last supported 31 oz., by continuing it in the sun’s light.

He found, that while the strength increased in oxidated magnets, it diminished in those which were not oxidated, the diminution becoming insensible when the loadstone was highly polished.

He now concentrated the solar rays upon the loadstone by means of a lens; and he found that, both in oxidated and polished magnets, they acquire strength when their north pole is exposed to the sun’s rays, and lose strength when the south pole is exposed.

He found likewise that the augmentation in the first case exceeded the diminution in the second.

A Treatise on Optics – David Brewster – 1838


Abundance of Iron in Earth's Crust


Simply put for the benefit of Earth Scientists:

Surface magnetism can be determined by exposure to sunlight and surface exposure to sunlight over thousands, millions or billions of years will determine surface magnetism because iron and magnetite are ubiquitous in surface rocks.

Magnetite is a mineral, one of the three common naturally occurring iron oxides (chemical formula Fe3O4) and a member of the spinel group.

Magnetite is the most magnetic of all the naturally occurring minerals on Earth.

Naturally magnetized pieces of magnetite, called lodestone, will attract small pieces of iron, and this was how ancient people first noticed the property of magnetism.

Small grains of magnetite occur in almost all igneous and metamorphic rocks.

World Geologic Provinces

END of UPDATE 17 June 2015

Palaeomagnetism details a history of the Earth that is littered with Magnetic Reversals.

A geomagnetic reversal is a change in the Earth’s magnetic field such that the positions of magnetic north and magnetic south are interchanged.

The Earth’s field has alternated between periods of normal polarity, in which the direction of the field was the same as the present direction, and reverse polarity, in which the field was the opposite.

These periods are called chrons.

The time spans of chrons are randomly distributed with most being between 0.1 and 1 million years with an average of 450,000 years.

Most reversals are estimated to take between 1,000 and 10,000 years.

The latest one, the Brunhes–Matuyama reversal, occurred 780,000 years ago.

Unfortunately, nobody knows why the Earth’s repeatedly flips into reversed polarity.
Unfortunately, nobody knows why the Earth’s repeatedly flips back to normal polarity.
Unfortunately, nobody has actually observed the Earth perform a polarity flip of any sort.

Observationally, Magnetic Reversals are on a par with Ice Ages and the Tooth Fairy.

The “scientific” literature is littered with hypothetical magnetic poles, hypothetical geomagnetic dipoles, hypothetical geo-dynamos, hypothetical magnetic reversals and very little of scientific substance.

Theoretically, Magnetic Reversals are as credible as Enid Blyton and the brothers Grimm.

Therefore, it is advisable to review the “science” of Palaeomagnetism to ensure Magnetic Reversals are not simply expensive Logic Reversals.

Unfortunately, the interpretation of Palaeomagnetic “data” is not straightforward.

Firstly, the intensity and location of the Earth’s magnetic poles is continually changing.

These changes can be very rapid [and significant] and NOAA [for example] has only modelled the Earth’s magnetic field back to 1,590 CE based upon “ship log data”.

Basically, it is impossible to model the Earth’s magnetic field prior to 1,590 CE.

Earth Magnetic Field Declination from 1590 to 1990

Secondly, the location of the geologic sample is continually moving [according to both the Plate Tectonics and Expanding Earth theories] in a geologic timeframe.

Pangea animation

Thirdly, even if you can establish the configuration of the Earth’s magnetic field [for a specific date] and the specific geographic location of the Palaeomagnetic specimen then you have to determine which Magnetic Poles [or combination of Magnetic Poles] determined the orientation of the magnetic “data” contained within the rock.

This is especially difficult when [as is currently the case] the Earth has four Magnetic Poles or when there is [or was] local magnetic interference.

As early as the 18th century it was noticed that compass needles deviated near strongly magnetized outcrops.

The Earth's magnetic field at the surface from the World Magnetic Model for 2010

Fundamentally, the problem is that the direction of the North [or South] Magnetic Pole cannot be determined from the magnetic data contained within a geologic sample because the configuration of the Earth’s magnetic field [when the specimen was originally magnetised] is unknown.

The same fundamental problem applies to a compass because it aligns to “the local direction of the Earth’s magnetic field”.

However, the compass reading must be corrected for two effects.

The first is magnetic declination, the angular difference between magnetic North (the local direction of the Earth’s magnetic field) and true North.

The second is magnetic deviation, the angular difference between magnetic North and the compass needle due to nearby sources of iron.

The Earth’s magnetic field is modified by local magnetic anomalies.

These include variations of the magnetization in the Earth’s crust caused by geomagnetic reversals as well as nearby mountains and iron ore deposits.

Generally, these are indicated on maps as part of the declination.

Because the Earth’s field changes over time, the maps must be kept up to date for accurate navigation.

Short term errors in compass readings are also caused by fields generated in the Earth’s magnetosphere, particularly during geomagnetic storms.

The geographical change in variation in some parts of the world is sufficiently rapid to need consideration. For instance, in approaching Halifax from Newfoundland the variation changes by 10° in less than 500 miles, and in the English Channel by about 5° in 400 miles.

World Magnetic Declination 2010

Finally, even if the all the previous problems have been resolved you still have to assume that the geological specimen has remained undisturbed [since it was originally magnetised] and that the embedded magnetic data has not be compromised by geothermal heating, weathering, leaching, impacts, compression, buckling, lightning or any other form of electromagnetic activity.

In 1797, Von Humboldt attributed this magnetization to lightning strikes (and lightning strikes do often magnetize surface rocks).

The risk of electromagnetic contamination is particularly high in volcanic rocks because “short duration sparks, recently documented near newly extruded magma, attest to the material being highly charged”.

In the early 20th century geologists first noticed that some volcanic rocks were magnetized opposite to the direction of the local Earth’s field.

Volcanic activity produces lightning-friendly conditions in multiple ways.

The enormous quantity of pulverized material and gases ejected into the atmosphere with explosive power, creates a dense plume of highly charged particles, which establishes the perfect conditions for lightning.

The ash density and constant motion within the volcanic plume, continually produces electrostatic ionization, resulting in very powerful and very frequent flashes attempting to neutralize itself.

Powerful and frequent flashes have been witnessed in the volcanic plume as far back as the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius by Pliny The Younger.

Likewise, vapors and ash originating from vents on the volcano’s flanks may produce more localized and smaller flashes upwards of 2.9 km long.

Small, short duration sparks, recently documented near newly extruded magma, attest to the material being highly charged prior to even entering the atmosphere.

Volcanic Lightning - Rinjani 1994

However, the overall risk of electromagnetic contamination by lighting is truly staggering because, on average, each square metre of the Earth’s surface will be struck by lightning 2.78 times every million years.

Lightning occurs approximately 40–50 times a second worldwide, resulting in nearly 1.4 billion flashes per year.

Lightning hits a tree

Overall, the Palaeomagnetic narrative for continental rocks is extremely suspect because of lightning strikes and volcanic activity.

However, the Palaeomagnetic bandwagon initially gathered momentum 50 years ago when astatic magnetometers detected magnetic anomalies on the ocean floor.

The British physicist P.M.S. Blackett provided a major impetus to paleomagnetism by inventing a sensitive astatic magnetometer in 1956. His intent was to test his theory that the geomagnetic field was related to the Earth’s rotation, a theory that he ultimately rejected; but the astatic magnetometer became the basic tool of paleomagnetism and led to a revival of the theory of continental drift.

Alfred Wegener first proposed in 1912 that continents had once been joined together and had since moved apart. Although he produced an abundance of circumstantial evidence, his theory met with little acceptance for two reasons:
(1) no mechanism for continental drift was known, and
(2) there was no way to reconstruct the movements of the continents over time.

Keith Runcorn and Edward A. Irving constructed apparent polar wander paths for Europe and North America. These curves diverged, but could be reconciled if it was assumed that the continents had been in contact up to 200 million years ago. This provided the first clear geophysical evidence for continental drift.

Then in 1963, Morley, Vine and Matthews showed that marine magnetic anomalies provided evidence for seafloor spreading.

However, it is important to note that astatic magnetometers do not detect magnetic polarity.

Astatic magnetometers do detect “magnetic anomalies” by measuring the “magnetic gradient”.

Astatic Magnetometer
A magnetometer for determining the gradient of a magnetic field by measuring the difference in reading from two magnetometers placed at different positions.

Magnetic gradiometers are pairs of magnetometers with their sensors separated, usually horizontally, by a fixed distance. The readings are subtracted in order to measure the difference between the sensed magnetic fields, which gives the field gradients caused by magnetic anomalies. This is one way of compensating both for the variability in time of the Earth’s magnetic field and for other sources of electromagnetic interference, thus allowing for more sensitive detection of anomalies. Because nearly equal values are being subtracted, the noise performance requirements for the magnetometers is more extreme.

Gradiometers enhance shallow magnetic anomalies and are thus good for archaeological and site investigation work. They are also good for real-time work such as unexploded ordnance location. It is twice as efficient to run a base station and use two (or more) mobile sensors to read parallel lines simultaneously (assuming data is stored and post-processed). In this manner, both along-line and cross-line gradients can be calculated.

The 1963 Vine and Matthews paper indicates that magnetic anomalies can be associated with topographical features on the ocean floor.

The trough of negative anomalies corresponds to a general depression in the bottom topography which represents the median valley of the Ridge.

The positive anomalies correspond to mountains on either side of the valley.


However, Vine and Matthews were earlier pioneers in computer modelling [although they did have the decency to call theirs a “computer programme”] who modelled two “isolated volcano-like structures” which demonstrated opposite magnetic anomalies.

Vine and Matthews concluded that their computer model “results suggested that whole blocks of the survey area might be reversely magnetized” and, as they say, the rest is history.

Thus, Palaeomagnetism gathered momentum without a single oceanic Magnetic Reversals actually being observed [because they were only ever modelled].

Fast forward 50 years and Palaeomagnetism has produced the EMAG2 magnetic anomaly grid.

Interestingly, the EMAG2 map only displays the “total intensity anomaly”.

EMAG2 British Isles Map – 160 Mb

However, for those individuals that are still convinced these magnetic anomalies represent Magnetic Reversals, there is one other very significant observation that has to be considered.

Wherever the Earth’s surface is fractured [or cracked because of expansion, contraction or faulting] then [as on the planet Mars] “the edges of the cracks will automatically have opposite polarities, because nature does not allow there to be a positive pole without a negative counterpart”.


Alternate explanations for the banded structure may involve the fracturing and breakup of an ancient, uniformly magnetized crust due to volcanic activity or tectonic stresses from the rise and fall of neighboring terrain.

“Imagine a thin coat of dried paint on a balloon, where the paint is the crust of Mars,” explained Dr. Mario Acuna of Goddard, principal investigator on the Global Surveyor magnetometer. “If we inflate the balloon further, cracks can develop in the paint, and the edges of the cracks will automatically have opposite polarities, because nature does not allow there to be a positive pole without a negative counterpart.”

PIA02008 Magnetic Strips Preserve Record of Ancient Mars

Image Credit: NASA, Jack Connerney, Mario Acuna, Carol Ladd

Ultimately, the “science” of Magnetic Reversals is just pattern matching.

Nothing more.

Sadly, the matches are of different durations and are from different periods.

After 50 years of “study” this is truly pitiful.

After 50 years they still haven’t realised these bands are the “stretch marks” of an Inflating Earth.

Patterns of Magnetic Polarity Reversals

Michigan State University – Magnetism Activity

Gallery | This entry was posted in Astrophysics, Catastrophism, Earth, Geomagnetism, Inventions and Deceptions, Science, Solar System. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Palaeomagnetism: Logic Reversals

  1. corevalue says:

    Could the effects of a “magnetic storm” also affect the paelomagnetism? Back in the days of shdow-mask crts, my television became colour-corrupted, which is a sign of the shadow mask becoming magnetised, beyond the capability of the inbuilt de-gaussing coils to demagnetise it. I had to strip down an old motor, and use the old-fashioned waving it around in front of the screen to degauss it. Coincidentally, I have an astronomer neighbour, I asked him if we had experienced a CME in the last few days. There had been in fact such an event, but relatively minor.


    The Carrington Event of 1859 may well have had a direct [or indirect] impact upon the palaeomagnetic record. The case for the “much more extreme cosmic ray events” is stronger.

    The solar storm of 1859, also known as the 1859 Solar Superstorm, or the Carrington Event, was a powerful geomagnetic solar storm in 1859 during solar cycle 10. A solar flare and/or coronal mass ejection produced a solar storm which hit Earth’s magnetosphere and induced the largest known geomagnetic solar storm, which was observed and recorded by Richard C. Carrington.

    Carrington Super Flare
    From August 28, 1859, until September 2, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the Sun. Just before noon on September 1, the English astronomer Richard Carrington observed the largest flare, which caused a major coronal mass ejection (CME) to travel directly toward Earth, taking 17.6 hours. Such a journey normally takes three to four days. This second CME moved so quickly because the first one had cleared the way of the ambient solar wind plasma.

    On August 29, 1859, aurorae were observed as far north as Queensland.

    On September 1, 1859, Carrington and Richard Hodgson, another English amateur astronomer, independently made the first observations of a solar flare. Because of a simultaneous “crochet” observed in the Kew Observatory magnetometer record by Scottish physicist Balfour Stewart and a geomagnetic storm observed the following day, Carrington suspected a solar-terrestrial connection. Worldwide reports on the effects of the geomagnetic storm of 1859 were compiled and published by Elias Loomis which support the observations of Carrington and Stewart.

    On September 1–2, 1859, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred. Aurorae were seen around the world, even as far south as the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People who happened to be awake in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by the aurora’s light. The aurora was visible as far from the poles as Cuba and Hawaii.

    Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases giving telegraph operators electric shocks. Telegraph pylons threw sparks. Some telegraph systems continued to send and receive messages despite having been disconnected from their power supplies.

    Compasses and other sensitive instruments reeled as if struck by a massive magnetic fist.

    On Saturday, September 3, 1859, the Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser reported, “Those who happened to be out late on Thursday night had an opportunity of witnessing another magnificent display of the auroral lights. The phenomenon was very similar to the display on Sunday night, though at times the light was, if possible, more brilliant, and the prismatic hues more varied and gorgeous. The light appeared to cover the whole firmament, apparently like a luminous cloud, through which the stars of the larger magnitude indistinctly shone. The light was greater than that of the moon at its full, but had an indescribable softness and delicacy that seemed to envelop everything upon which it rested. Between 12 and 1 o’clock, when the display was at its full brilliancy, the quiet streets of the city resting under this strange light, presented a beautiful as well as singular appearance.”

    Similar events
    Ice cores contain thin nitrate-rich layers that can be analyzed to reconstruct a history of past events before reliable observations; the data from Greenland ice cores was gathered by Kenneth G. McCracken and others. These show evidence that events of this magnitude—as measured by high-energy proton radiation, not geomagnetic effect—occur approximately once per 500 years, with events at least one-fifth as large occurring several times per century. These similar but much more extreme cosmic ray events however may originate outside the Solar system and even outside the galaxy.

    Less severe storms have occurred in 1921 and 1960, when widespread radio disruption was reported. The March 1989 geomagnetic storm knocked out power across large sections of Quebec, Canada.

    Geologic exploration
    Earth’s magnetic field is used by geologists to determine subterranean rock structures.
    For the most part, these geodetic surveyors are searching for oil, gas, or mineral deposits. They can accomplish this only when Earth’s field is quiet, so that true magnetic signatures can be detected. Other geophysicists prefer to work during geomagnetic storms, when strong variations in the Earth’s normal subsurface electric currents allow them to sense subsurface oil or mineral structures. This technique is called magnetotellurics. For these reasons, many surveyors use geomagnetic alerts and predictions to schedule their mapping activities.

  2. malagabay says:

    Welcome to the party Louis….

    One thing that is crystal clear is that both geomagnetic poles are continually on the move at rates far exceeding any plausible tectonic plate movement, so if remnant palaeomagnetism is proposed as a record of past plate motion, one has to be living in la-la land.

    The Wandering Poles – Louis Hissink’s Crazy World

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