Developing Geological Framework - Idaho National Laboratory

Science Center Objects

As basaltic lava cools and hardens, the inclination, declination, and polarity of the Earth’s ambient magnetic field is recorded in the magnetic minerals of the rock. The recorded magnetic values are largely preserved and can be deciphered by paleomagnetic analysis.

At the INL, because the basalt flows cannot be visually distinguished from one another, scientists use inclination, declination, and polarity data to correlate basalt flows at the land surface and use inclination and polarity data in the subsurface.

To do this, our staff drils,, extracts, and dries the core. Scientists then describe, photograph, and analyze some samples to obtain geologic data to understand the magnetic properties as well as the physical, chemical, and hydrologic properties of the rock. Data collected from cores are also used to help refine the conceptual framework for numerical flow models that describe the subsurface movement of groundwater and contaminants.

The core is available in our Core Storage Library for future research.