An OSU Facility supported by the National Science Foundation

Welcome to the Paleo-and-Environmental Magnetism Laboratory in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. The P-Mag Lab is an NSF supported OSU facility dedicated to sediment magnetism and a resource for Pacific NW, national and international scientific communities.

The U-Channel Magnetometer

The P-Mag Lab is built around the unique capabilities of the liquid helium free 2G Enterprises superconducting rock magnetometer (SRM) optimized for u-channel samples. U-channel samples are rigid u-shaped plastic liners (2 x 2 cm cross-section) that completely enclose cored sediments up to 1.5 m in length. This state-of-the-art system provides the capability to rapidly acquire high quality environmental and paleomagnetic data continuously on u-channel samples. The several orders of magnitude increase in data acquisitions allows new archives to be explored and older ones to be more thoroughly examined. Discrete samples can also be rapidly measured with this system.

Our Research

Our approach is to use the high throughput of the u-channel SRM to:

  1. Reconstruct the space/time patterns of the geomagnetic field.
  2. Develop and employ geomagnetic change as a stratigraphic dating tool.
  3. Reconstruct environmental variability through the rock magnetic response to laboratory magnetizations.

Materials for study come from a wide range of sources, including international science programs such as the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and the International Continental Drilling Program, PI driven field programs and retrospective research on the large core collection available at the OSU-Marine Geology Repository.

Recent Blog Posts


Late Pleistocene Western North American PSV Paper Now Online at QSR!

The OSU P-mag Lab’s study on Late Pleistocene Western North American Paleomagnetic Secular Variation (PSV) is now available online at Quaternary Science Reviews.  It is titled, “Regionally consistent Western North America paleomagnetic directions from 15 to 35 ka: Assessing chronology and uncertainty with paleosecular variation (PSV) stratigraphy” and is the result of work that began with sediment cores collected in 2014 from Fish Lake, Utah.  You can access the paper for free until December 12, 2018 using the following share link:  If you need a copy after that, just email Brendan, Joe, or Rob and we can send you a version.   In February 2014, Joe and Rob traveled to Utah to collect sediment cores from the frozen surface of Fish Lake, the largest natural mountain lake in the state, with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, Western State Colorado University, University of Utah, the USGS, University of West Virginia, College of Charleston, and the Illinois State Museum.  Fish Lake is situated in a northeast-southwest trending graben in the high plateau of Utah, a transitional region between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range. During the last glacial time interval, glaciers drained from the nearby Fish Lake High-top Plateau into the Fish Lake Basin without overrunning the lake. Thus, sediments in the lake contain a record of times before, during, and after the last glacial maximum.   The Fish Lake coring team in February 2014 using a UWITEC coring device from the frozen surface of the lake.   Joe and Rob returned to Oregon State with 12 ~2 meter long cores from the lake, which could be used...

Off to Copenhagen to support IODP Proposal: Assessing the history of the south Greenland Ice Sheet and its interaction with ocean circulation, climate, and sea level

Joe, Rob, and Brendan are off to Copenhagen in support of their IODP proposal, 814-Full: Assessing the history of the south Greenland Ice Sheet and its interaction with ocean circulation, climate, and sea level.  This drilling proposal was the result of a 2012 IODP, NSF, and PAGES workshop, Assessing the History of the Greenland Ice Sheet through Ocean Drilling (link to workshop report).  They will be attending the IODP and ECORD MagellanPlus Workshop on Greenland Ice Sheet evolution, organized by Paul Knutz at GEUS. The participants will discuss 814-Full and another IODP Proposal, 909-Full: Cenozoic evolution of the northern Greenland ice sheet (NORTH ICE).  It looks like it will be an incredible workshop, with three days of Greenland focused talks, discussions, and planning sessions.   P-mag Lab presentations at the meeting: Joe will be presenting the summary and status of the IODP 814-Full proposal and a keynote talk, titled: “Linking the marine sediment archive to Greenland Ice Sheet variability: Past and (hopefully) future ocean drilling around South Greenland.” Rob will be presenting a talk to highlight the work our group has done around South Greenland and the Northern North Atlantic, titled: “Eirik Ridge marine sediments: A Plio-Pleistocene archive of the past behavior of the south Greenland Ice-Sheet.” Brendan will be presenting a poster to encourage discussion on chronostratigraphic modeling, titled: “Chronostratigraphic modeling of complex depositional systems: Lessons from the Bengal Fan, implications for ice proximal environments.” And close collaborator Anne Jennings, at INSTAAR at CU-Boulder, will be presenting a talk on results from our 2015 Petermann Glacier Expedition, titled: “Ice Shelf Facies: Modern and Paleo examples from NW...

The P-mag Lab Continues Strong Partnership with IODP During the 2018/19 Academic Year

The P-mag Lab will continue to have a strong partnership with IODP in the 2018/19 academic year and is committed to developing, implementing, and achieving IODP scientific objectives. We are starting the year by participating in two IODP workshops focused on planning future drilling around the Greenland Ice Sheet and in the Arctic/North Pacific.  The first of these will be in support of IODP Proposal 814-Full, led by Joe, which plans to target sites on the South Greenland Margin that will extend back to the late-Miocene.  The latter will help develop drilling targets identified during our recent work on the Oregon Margin on cruises OC1706B (Co-Chiefs, Mo/Joe) and RR1718 (Mo/Brendan). In December, Rob will head out on the JOIDES Resolution (JR) to serve as Paleomagnetist on the first JR100 cruise, which utilizes the drilling capabilities of the JR to drill shallow (<100 m) sites while the JR is in transit and/or in between IODP Expeditions.  They will be drilling a number of sites on the Chilean Margin to recover high-resolution records of the region’s past climate and oceanographic conditions. In March, Brendan will get on the JR to serve as Paleomagnetist on IODP Expedition 382, which will drill basins in the Scotia Sea and a drift on the South Falkland Slope to learn about past Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge, through the Iceberg Alley ice-rafted debris record, and Southern Ocean paleoceanography since the Middle Miocene. Finally, in May, Joe will shake hands with Brendan getting off the JR and then get on himself to serve as Paleomagnetist on IODP Expedition 383, which will investigate the Pliocene-Pleistocene dynamics of the Pacific Antarctic Circumpolar...