A graphical approach to polar paths: Paleomagnetic cycles and global tectonics

W. A. Morris*, P. W. Schmidt, J. L. Roy

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Some problems of the conventional "minimum polar distance" approach to Precambrian pole path construction are discussed. An alternative technique, based on a less restricted approach, is proposed and assessed by using all presently-available Precambrian and Paleozoic data from the world. In the construction of any pole path, assumptions are always made on the shape of the path through regions of apparently missing data. Many different assumptions are possible. Assuming that the Precambrian tectono-stratigraphic record conforms to repeated sequences of geological events suggests we should observe cycles in the paleomagnetic data. Empirically, it is found that the pole paths for the periods Cambrian-Devonian, and 750-1000 Ma, define cycles of pole motion from equator, up to and over the pole, and back down to the equator. Similar cycles of 250-Ma periodicity can be identified in paleomagnetic data back to 2500-Ma. Global wide changes in the phase of the cycles appears to be coincident with the major subdivisions of geological time i.e., Phanerozoic + Hadrynian, Helikian, Aphebian, and Archean. Finally, the geological implications of these cyclic changes in Precambrian pole paths are briefly discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)85-99
    Number of pages15
    JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1979


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