What is magnetic dating used for

Archaeomagentic dating has been used with considerable success in the southwestern United States, but a problem with using this technique in eastern North America is that the ancient movements of the earth’s magnetic field are not well understood from this region.Lengyel and Eighmy plotted the measurements from the Toqua samples against two possible curves.This damage is in the form of tiny marks called fission tracks.When volcanic rocks and minerals are formed, they do not contain fission tracks.Dates from the hearths also can be used to help determine the ages of artifacts found in the buildings. On the Potential of Archaeomagnetic Dating in the Midcontinent Region of North America: Toqua Site Results, Southeastern Archaeology, 18(2):156-171.For example, Sullivan plans to use the archaeomagnetic dates from Toqua to assist a study she is doing on changes in pottery styles between AD 12. Knowing when a dinosaur or other animal lived is important because it helps us place them on the evolutionary family tree.Accurate dates also allow us to create sequences of evolutionary change and work out when species appeared or became extinct. These are: Where possible, several different methods are used and each method is repeated to confirm the results obtained and improve accuracy.

Through painstaking sample collection and measuring techniques, the alignment of the mineral particles can be matched to a known past location of the earth’s magnetic field.

This problem is now reduced by the careful collection of samples, rigorous crosschecking and the use of newer techniques that can date minute samples.

Volcanic rocks – such as tuff and basalt – can be used in dating because they are formed at a particular moment in time, during an eruption.

The interpretation of the archaeomagnetic dates from the Toqua site was funded by a grant to Sullivan from the National Science Foundation.

Additional Information More detailed information on the archaeomagnetic dates from Toqua can be found in: Lengyel, Stacey N., Jeffery L.

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