Paleomagnetism as a means of dating geological events

08-Dec-2019 15:45

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This event is recorded in a unique package of sedimentary rocks called the Elliot Formation, which is part of the fill in the main Karoo Basin in southern Africa.

Scientists believe that studying these ancient rocks will unlock the secrets relating to the end-Triassic mass extinction, the third-largest extinction event the world has seen.

In trying to understand these far-removed biological events, scientists can get insight into how we perceive and recognise the current sixth (Holocene/Anthropocene) extinction.

Presenting the research This innovative Upper Triassic–Lower Jurassic magnetic barcode was developed during Dr Lara Sciscio’s Ph D research.

The customised drones were efficient and collected data easily, but they collected a lot of it – more than could be processed timeously by his laboratory’s computers.This type of research allows you to trace the movements of ancient continents through time and indirectly date rock successions.” The new magnetic chronology suggests that the Elliot Formation ranges between ~214–~190 million years.This gives a firmer age range for the Elliot Formation than previously thought.Importantly, for this method to work the rocks must contain magnetic minerals.The Elliot Formation is what is commonly known as a ‘red bed’ succession, and is named so because of its distinct brick-red colouration, which is derived from iron oxide minerals (eg hematite).

The customised drones were efficient and collected data easily, but they collected a lot of it – more than could be processed timeously by his laboratory’s computers.This type of research allows you to trace the movements of ancient continents through time and indirectly date rock successions.” The new magnetic chronology suggests that the Elliot Formation ranges between ~214–~190 million years.This gives a firmer age range for the Elliot Formation than previously thought.Importantly, for this method to work the rocks must contain magnetic minerals.The Elliot Formation is what is commonly known as a ‘red bed’ succession, and is named so because of its distinct brick-red colouration, which is derived from iron oxide minerals (eg hematite).To date, there are five recognised mass extinction events, with the most popularised being the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that ended the life of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.