Today's knowledge of the secular variation of the Earth's magnetic field during the Holocene allows using the magnetic record of volcanic rocks and of archaeological materials for paleomagnetic dating. In Mexico this can often be combined, as eruptions in the Transmexican Volcanic Belt during the Holocene had important effects on ancient civilizations, causing migrations and also later reoccupations. In this talk I will present some recent examples of such interrelations which could be unraveled by paleomagnetic dating. Another application to volcanic stratigraphy is very useful when there are no other datable materials available, like above the tree line on high volcanoes, example of the Pico de Orizaba, where the C-14 method can not be applied. In archaeology, kilns and hearths similarly produce a paleomagnetic record that can be used for dating. Ceramic potsherds may provide the paleointensity of the Earth's magnetic field and this often allows to refine archaeological age estimates.
Contributions of paleomagnetism to volcanology and archaeology in Mexico
Prof. Dr. Harald Norbert Böhnel
INF 229, SR 108/110