Abstract

Two contrasting examples of the application of mineral magnetism to environmental problems are discussed. Magnetic susceptibility measurements of sediments from the Chinese loess Plateau - the biggest accumulation of windblown sediments on earth - reveal one of the best records of continental climate change available. these records provide a detailed picture of glacial and interglacial cycles and variations in the east asian summer monsoon stretching back more than 2 million years. in the case of anthropogenic airborne particles, the spread of particulate pollutants can be robustly traced throughout a city environment by measuring the magnetic properties of leaves, which trap magnetic particles released from vehicle exhausts and/or industry emissions.

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