Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Geomagnetic excursions date early hominid migration to China



Global-scale geomagnetic reversals, which are periods when the direction of Earth's magnetic field flips, leave imprints in magnetic minerals present in sediments. But so do smaller-scale, even local, changes in Earth's magnetic field direction. Paleomagnetists believe that the smaller-scale events represent “failed reversals” and refer to them as “geomagnetic excursions.” Scientists use geomagnetic excursions in sedimentary basins as markers to tie together events of Earth's history across the globe.