A review of the available data on the polarity of the geomagnetic field during the Carboniferous confirms that it is predominantly reversed, although the data base is only of poor reliability, particularly in terms of the age of the magnetization. New British and Irish data, partially supported by positive fold tests, suggest that the Courceyan and Arundian stages are almost certainly entirely reversed. The Asbian and Brigantian are similarly all reversed, with the exception of two short normal polarity intervals—one at the base and one at the top of the Asbian. An examination of the suggested age for the base of the predominantly Kiaman interval of reversed polarity shows a very wide variation in postulated ages, and it is proposed that the base is defined as being that of the youngest normal interval that can be identified near to the Permo-Carboniferous boundary.

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