Abstract

This review is an attempt to bring together and discuss relevant information concerning the magnetization of rocks, especially that having paleomagnetic significance. All paleomagnetic measurements available to the authors are here compiled and evaluated, with a key to the summary table and illustrations in English and Russian. The principles upon which the evaluation of paleomagnetic measurements is based are summarized, with special emphasis on statistical methods and on the evidence and tests for magnetic stability and paleomagnetic applicability.

Evaluation of the data summarized leads to the following general conclusions:

  • (1) The earth's average magnetic field, throughout Oligocene to Recent time, has very closely approximated that due to a dipole at the center of the earth oriented parallel to the present axis of rotation.

  • (2) Paleomagnetic results for the Mesozoic and early Tertiary might be explained more plausibly by a relatively rapidly changing magnetic field, with or without wandering of the rotational pole, than by large-scale continental drift.

  • (3) The Carboniferous and especially the Permian magnetic fields were relatively very “steady” and were vastly different from the present configuration of the field.

  • (4) The Precambrian magnetic field was different from the present field configuration and, considering the time spanned, was remarkably consistent for all continents.

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