The study of the magnetism of rocks may seem to many readers to be a highly specialized field, but a moment’s reflection serves to remind us that it is a topic that has been at the very heart of many major developments throughout the Earth Sciences in recent decades. The role of geomagnetic polarity reversals in the rise of plate tectonics is the most outstanding example. But the role of polar wandering in the earlier theory of continental drift should not be forgotten. The current use of magnetic stratigraphy to establish robust chronologies, of paleopoles to establish tectonic histories and...

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