Paleomagnetism is the study of the record of the Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field is the magnetic field that extends from the Earth's inner core to where it meets the solar wind, a stream of energetic particles emanating from the Sun...

 in rocks. Certain minerals in rocks lock-in a record of the direction and intensity of the magnetic field when they form. This record provides information on the past behavior of Earth's magnetic field and the past location of tectonic plates
Tectonic Plates
Tectonic Plates is a 1992 independent Canadian film directed by Peter Mettler. Mettler also wrote the screenplay based on the play by Robert Lepage. The film stars Marie Gignac, Céline Bonnier and Robert Lepage.-Plot summary:...

. The record of geomagnetic reversals preserved in volcanic
Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it is an igneous rock of volcanic origin...

 and sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

 sequences (magnetostratigraphy
Magnetostratigraphy is a geophysical correlation technique used to date sedimentary and volcanic sequences. The method works by collecting oriented samples at measured intervals throughout the section. The samples are analyzed to determine their characteristic remanent magnetization , that is, the...

) provides a time-scale that is used as a geochronologic
Geochronology is the science of determining the age of rocks, fossils, and sediments, within a certain degree of uncertainty inherent to the method used. A variety of dating methods are used by geologists to achieve this, and schemes of classification and terminology have been proposed...