Earth, Planets and Space

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 175–191 | Cite as

Possible Holocene excursion of the Earth’s magnetic field in southern South America: New records from archaeological sites in Argentina

  • Hugo G. Nami
Open Access


Palaeomagnetic studies were carried out in several archaeological and palaeontological sites across Argentina and Chile. Remanence directions far removed from the present magnetic field, probably corresponding to a field excursion were recorded in several stratigraphic sections spaning ∼11 to 2 ky bp. Detailed palaeomagnetic data from 235 cores obtained in six sections from archaeological sites in Argentina are reported. Stability of the NRM was analyzed by progressive thermal and alternating field demagnetization and ChRM directions determined in most cases. Computed VGPs from those directions tend to be concentrated over North America, Europe, Eastern Asia and Africa. Using 275 VGPs a palaeomagnetic pole that is ∼20° apart from the Earth’s rotation’s axis was obtained.


Argentina Archaeological Site Thermal Demagnetization Virtual Geomagnetic Pole Geomagnetic Reversal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bayarski, A., A. Monti, and M. A. Gonzalez, Sedimentología del Alero Pinstoscayoc 1. Departamento Humahuaca, Jujuy, MS, 1995.Google Scholar
  2. Bogue, S. W., Reversals of opinion, Nature, 351, 445–446, 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bogue, S. W. and R. T. Merrill, The character of the field during geomagnetic reversals, Annu. Rev. Earth Sci., 20, 181–219, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borrero, L. A., La extinción de la megafauna en Patagonia, Ans. Inst. Pat. Ser. Cs. Hs., 25, 89–102, 1997.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, R. F., Paleomagnetism: Magnetic Domains to Geologic Terranes, 319 pp., Blackwell Scientific Publications, Cambridge, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. Creer, K. M. and J. S. Kopper, Palaeomagnetic dating of paintings in Tito Bustillo Cave, Science, 186, 348–350, 1974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Elwood, B. B., An archeomagnetic measurement of the age and sedimentation rate of climax cave sediments, southwest Georgia, Am. J. Science, 271, 304–310, 1971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eugenio, E., Geoarqueología de Cueva Las Buitreras (Provincia de Santa Cruz, Argentina), Præhistoria, 3, 1997 (in press).Google Scholar
  9. Hernández Llosas, M. I., H. Alem, M. P. Falchi, M. Gavilán, H. Knauth, J. B. León, P. Masci, G. Scarafia, D. Tamburini, and D. Vainstub, Proyecto arqueológico Pintoscayoc. Departamento de Humahuaca, Provincia de Jujuy, Rev. Mus. Hist. Nat. S. Raf. (Mendoza), XIV (1/4), 160–162, 1994.Google Scholar
  10. Hyodo, M., C. Itota, and K. Yaskawa, Geomagnetic secular variation from magnetizations of wide-diameter cores of Holocene sediments in Japan, J. Geomag. Geoelectr., 45, 669–696, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kirschvink, J. L., The least-squares line and plane and the analysis of palaeo-magnetic data, Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc., 62, 699–718, 1980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kopper, J. S. and K. M. Creer, Cova dest Alexanderes, Majorca. Palaeo-magnetic dating and archaeological interpretation of its sediments, Caves and Karst. Res. Speleol., 15 (2), 13–20, 1973.Google Scholar
  13. Kopper, J. S. and K. M. Creer, Palaeomagnetic dating and stratigraphic interpretation in archaeology, MASCA Newsletter (Philadelphia), 12 (1), 1–4, 1976.Google Scholar
  14. Langereis, C. G., A. A. M. van Hoof, and P. Rochette, Longitudinal confinement of geomagnetic reversal paths as a possible sedimentary artefact, Nature, 358, 228–230, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Langereis, C. G., M. J. Dekkers, G. J. de Lange, M. Paterne, and P. J. M. van Santvoort, Magnetostratigraphy and astronomical calibration of the last 1.1 Myr from an eastern Mediterranean piston core and dating of short events in the Brunhes, Geophys. J. Int., 129, 75–94, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lovlie, R. and A. Sandness, Palaeomagnetic excursions recorded in mid-Weischselian Cave sediments from Skjonghelleren, Valderoy, W. Norway, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 45, 337–348, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McElhinny, M. W., B. J. J. Embleton, and P. Wellman, A synthesis of Australian cenozoic palaeomagnetic results, Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc., 36, 141–151, 1974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Merrill, R. T. and M. W. McElhinny, The Earth’s Magnetic Field. Its History, Origin and Planetary Perspective, 401 pp., Academic Press, New York, 1983.Google Scholar
  19. Nabel, P., Alcances y limitaciones del paleomagnetismo en el estudio de sedimentos Holocenos: Dos ejemplos, in Résumenes expandidos. Simposio Internacional sobre el Holoceno en America del Sur (INQUA-CADINQUA), edited by M. H. Iriondo and C. Ceruti, pp. 178–181, Museo de Ciencias Naturales "Profesor A. Serrano", Paraná, 1988.Google Scholar
  20. Nabel, P. and A. Spiegelman, Caracterización paleomagética y sedimentológica en sedimentos de la plataforma continental externa, provincia de Buenos Aires, Actas. Seg. Jor. Geol. Bon., 307–316, 1988.Google Scholar
  21. Nami, H. G., Informe sobre la segunda y tercera expedición en la Cueva del Medio. Perspectivas arqueológicas para la Patagonia Austral, Ans. Inst. Pat. Ser. Cs. Hs., 17, 71–105, 1987.Google Scholar
  22. Nami, H. G., Excursiones geomagnéticas y arqueología: Nuevos datos y perspectivas en la Patagonia, Rev. Mus. Hist. Nat. S. Raf. (Mendoza), XIII (1/4), 362–367, 1994.Google Scholar
  23. Nami, H. G., Holocene geomagnetic excursion at Mylodon Cave, Ultima Esperanza, Chile, J. Geomag. Geoelectr., 47, 1325–1332, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nami, H. G., New assessments of early human occupations in the southern cone, in Prehistoric Mongoloid Dispersals, edited by T. Akazawa and E. J. Szathmáry, pp. 254–269, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996.Google Scholar
  25. Nami, H. G. and T. Nakamura, Cronología radiocarbónica con AMS sobre muestras de hueso procedentes del sitio Cueva del Medio (Ultima Esperanza, Chile), Ans. Inst. Pat. Ser. Cs. Hs., 23, 125–133, 1995.Google Scholar
  26. Nami, H. G. and A. M. Sinito, Preliminary paleomagnetic results, the Campo Cerda Rockshelter, Province of Chubut, Argentina, Quat. South Am. Antarc. Penninsula, 9, 141–151, 1991.Google Scholar
  27. Nami, H. G. and A. M. Sinito, Evidence of a possible excursion of the geomagnetic field registered during the late Holocene in the Province of Chubut, Argentina, Geoacta, 20, 19–26, 1993.Google Scholar
  28. Nami, H. G., A. M. Sinito, and C. Gogorza, Primeros resultados de los estudios paleomanéticos en sedimentos de Cueva del Medio (Ultima Esperanza, Chile), Ans. Inst. Pat. Ser. Cs. Hs., 23, 135–142, 1995.Google Scholar
  29. Nami, H. G., A. M. Sinito, and C. Gogorza, Observaciones paleomagnéticas en el sitio arqueológico Puerto Segundo (Misiones, Argentina), Pesquisas, Ser. Ant., 1998 (in press).Google Scholar
  30. Nöel, M. and L. Thistlewood, Developments in Cave Sediments Palaeomagnetism. Geomagnetism and Palaeomagnetism, edited by F. J. Lowes, D. W. Collinson, J. H. Pary, S. K. Runcorn, D. C. Tozer, and A. Soward, pp. 91–106, Kluwer Academic Publisher, Dordrecht, 1989.Google Scholar
  31. Papmarinopoulous, S. and K. Creer, The Palaeomagnetism of Cave Sediments. Geomagnetism of Backed Clays and Recent Sediments, edited by K. M. Creer, P. Tucholka, and C. E. Bartom, Elsevier, 1983.Google Scholar
  32. Parés, J. M. and A. Pérez-González, Palaeomagnetic age for hominid fossils at Atapuerca archaeological site, Spain, Science, 269, 830–832, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Prieto, A., Cazadores Tempranos y Tardíos en Cueva del Lago Sofía 1, Ans. Inst. Pat. Ser. Cs. Soc., 20, 75–96, 1991.Google Scholar
  34. Quideller, X. and J. P. Valet, Geomagnetic changes across the last reversal recorded in lava flows from La Palma, Canary Islands, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 13,755–13,773, 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rodriguez, J. A., Arqueología del Sudeste de Sud América, in Prehistoria de Sudamérica. Nuevas Perspectivas, edited by B. Meggers, pp. 177–209, Taraxatum, Washington, D.C., 1992.Google Scholar
  36. Sanguinetti de Bórmida, A. C., Excavaciones prehistóricas en la cueva de Las Buitreras, Santa Cruz, Argentina, Rel. Soc. Arg. Ant. (Buenos Aires), X, 271–292, 1976.Google Scholar
  37. Sanguinetti de Bórmida, A. C. and D. Curzio, Excavaciones arqueológicas en el sitio Piedra del Aguila 11, Præhistoria (Buenos Aires), 2, 43–100, 1996.Google Scholar
  38. Saxon, E., La Prehistoria de Fuego-Patagonia: Colonización de un hábitat marginal, Ans. Inst. Pat., 7, 63–73, 1976.Google Scholar
  39. Scasso, R. A., Estudio sedimentológico de la cueva Las Buitreras, Provincia de Santa Cruz, Præhistoria, 3, 1997 (in press).Google Scholar
  40. Schmidt, V. A. and T. C. Partridge, An attempt to establish a magnetostrati-graphic framework for sediments deposited in Sterkfontein Cave, South Africa, EOS, 72, 44, 136, 1991.Google Scholar
  41. Schmitz, P. I., Prehistoric Hunter and Gatherers of Brazil, J. W. Prehistory, 1, 53–126, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sinito, A. M., H. G. Nami, and C. Gogorza, Analysis of palaeomagnetic results from Holocene sediments sampled at archaeological excavations in South America, Quat. South Am. Antarc. Penninsula, 10, 31–44, Balkema, 1997.Google Scholar
  43. Smorczewski, M., Protocolo de Análisis Físico-Químico, Laboratorio de Análisis de Suelo (INTA), MS, 1994.Google Scholar
  44. Tarling, D., Palaeomagnetism, 379 pp., Chapman and Hall, New York, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Valet, J. P., C. Laj, and P. Tucholka, High-resolution sedimentary record of a geomagnetic reversal, Nature, 322, 27–32, 1986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. van Hoof, A. A. M. and C. G. Langereis, Reversal records in marine marls and delayed acquisition of remanent magnetization, Nature, 351, 223–225, 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zijderveld, J. D. A., AC demagnetization of rocks: Analysis of results, in Methods in Paleomagnetism, edited by D. W. Collinson, K. M. Creer, and S. K. Runcorn, pp. 254–286, Elsevier, 1967.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society of Geomagnetism and Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences (SGEPSS); The Seismological Society of Japan; The Volcanological Society of Japan; The Geodetic Society of Japan; The Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Paleomagnetismo “Daniel A. Valencio”, Departamento de Ciencias Geológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos AiresCiudad Universitaria (Pabellón II)Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Programa de Estudios Prehistoricó sCONICETBuenos AiresRepública Argentina

Personalised recommendations