Determining Earth Evolution from Palaeomagnetism

Research

The role and evolution of magnetic life: Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are microorganisms that form small chains of magnetic particles within their single-celled bodies. These particle, known as magnetosomes, act as a small biological compass helping MTB to orient and swim along magnetic field lines to find nutrients. Our research, led by Greig Paterson, focuses on understanding how MTB contribute to sedimentary magnetic signals as well as how magnetic life evolved on early Earth.

Numerical analyses in Earth science: Data in Earth sciences are often a complicated mixture of multiple signals and need to be unravelled in order to be easily interpreted. We develop new methods and software packages to help unmix large and complicated datasets. Although much of our work focuses on analyzing magnetic data, our methods are widely applicable to many different types of data used in Earth sciences. This work is led by Greig Paterson.

Determining Earth Evolution from Palaeomagnetism: This research, which attempts to further develop palaeomagnetic records as a key constraint on the evolution deep Earth is led by Andy Biggin and Richard Holme under the DEEP research group.

Building and testing geomagnetic field models for the Holocene: We combine archaeomagnetic measurements of globally distributed rocks and archaeological materials, made using our world-leading facilities, with potential theory to improve global models of the Earth’s magnetic field. This work, crucial to determining the dynamics of the Earth’s core and constraining the behaviour of Earth’s magnetic field in the past, present and future, is led by Mimi Hill, Richard Holme and Andy Biggin.

Probing Earth's deep interior with rapid changes in Geomagnetic field and Earth rotation: Changes in the Earth’s magnetic field lasting less than one year, coupled with high-resolution records of variations in Earth’s length of day are being used to tell us about rapid changes in Earth's fluid core (such as waves and upwelling of core fluid) and also about the solid mantle that overlies it. This research, combining satellite and observatory data, to infer the physical properties of the deep Earth is led by Richard Holme.

Constraining the evolution of the core and mantle using long-term geomagnetic variations: We seek to document and explain variations in geomagnetic field behaviour on a timescales of millions to billions of years which are likely related to convection in the mantle and the thermal evolution of the entire planet. This research, which attempts to further develop palaeomagnetic records as a key constraint on the evolution deep Earth is led by Andy Biggin and Richard Holme.

Applying magnetic records to archaeological, volcanological, and environmental problems: Measurements of the magnetic properties of diverse samples in our state-of-the-art lab are regularly applied to such problems as determining chronology, measuring magma flow directions, and peak heating temperatures. This multidisciplinary work involves Andy Biggin, Greig Paterson and Mimi Hill working in collaboration with researchers at Liverpool and far beyond.

Improving the fidelity of palaeomagnetic records: Our group has a long-standing tradition of developing novel instrumentation and methodologies to drive forward the discipline of palaeomagnetism as a whole. The fruits of these innovations are evident in our unique facilitiesand also in continuing research led by Andy Biggin, Greig Paterson and Mimi Hill.