Geomagnetic and paleomagnetic methods form the basis for this research activity. Geomagnetics delivers geophysical parameters which are important parameters for the environmental conditions existing when sediments were deposited, and the in-situ conditions existing during the diagenesis of rocks. In addition to classic paleomagnetics (movement of the magnetic poles) methods used for magneto-stratigraphy provide information on the polarity of the earth's magnetic field frozen in the rock at the time the rock was formed, and which therefore provides important information on chronostratigraphy. In addition to radiometric dating and other stratigraphic methods, this allows the dating of sediments and other rock formations up to ages of approx. 500 million years.
Loess-paleo soil sequences (LPS) are important climate archives for the Quaternary, and can be correlated world-wide with other LPS sequences as well as marine and limnic sediments. Geomagnetics helps to date these sequences as well as providing information on climate variations during the determined sedimentation time periods. The diagenesis of magnetic minerals is an ongoing research area aimed at extracting additional viable information from geomagnetic measurements. The work undertaken by the geomagnetics research area is closely linked with projects undertaken by department 3 and main research activity 3 (Terrestrial sediment systems). Determining the direction and intensity of magnetisation frozen within the rocks, as well as their susceptibilities, also provides important information for the magnetics research field (department 1).