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paleomagnetism

[pey-lee-oh-mag-ni-tiz-uh m or, esp. British, pal-ee-] /ˌpeɪ li oʊˈmæg nɪˌtɪz əm or, esp. British, ˌpæl i-/
noun
1.
Geology. magnetic polarization acquired by the minerals in a rock at the time the rock was deposited or solidified.
Origin
1850-1855
1850-55; paleo- + magnetism
Related forms
paleomagnetic
[pey-lee-oh-mag-net-ik or, esp. British, pal-ee-] /ˌpeɪ li oʊ mægˈnɛt ɪk or, esp. British, ˌpæl i-/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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paleomagnetic in Science
paleomagnetism
  (pā'lē-ō-māg'nĭ-tĭz'əm)   
  1. The fixed orientation of a rock's magnetic minerals as originally aligned at the time of the rock's formation. Paleomagnetism is usually the result of thermoremanent magnetization (magnetization that occurs in igneous rocks as they cool). Examination of the paleomagnetism of the Earth's ocean floors revolutionized the field of geology by providing evidence for the existence and movement of tectonic plates. See Note at magnetic reversal.

  2. The scientific study of such magnetic remanence.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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