MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Subject: apparent polar wander becomes magnetic polar wander?

Date: Fri Sep 16 18:43:55 2005
Posted by Vin
Grade level: 10-12 School: No school entered.
City: No city entered. State/Province: No state entered. Country: No country entered.
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1126921435.Es

"In the past, the geologists examining ancient rocks (paleomagnetism) assumed 
the continents did not move so the magnetic north pole APPEARED to be moved, 
hence this is called apparent polar wander. 
When the continents are considered to be moving (RATHER THAN THE POLE), the 
PATHWAYS correspond." [A quote from a text book]

[My quetsion]When they considered the continents move instead of the pole 
moving, the pathways correspond...but the last sentence in the quote confuses 
me. It says that scientists consider that the continents are moving instead of 
the magnetic pole (ie consider the change in position and orientation of the 
continents), and this gives a perfect match of the apparent polar wander paths 
for different continents (North America and Europe, for example), but as they 
consider that the magnetic pole is not moving, why are there still pathways of 
polar wander? Is this the real MAGNETIC polar wander--the movement of the 
magnetic pole with respect to the geographic pole, which is considered 
stationary at most times?) 

Re: apparent polar wander becomes magnetic polar wander?

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