In 2013 I started working in the Paleomagnetic Research Group at the University of Rochester. I prepared archeomagnetic samples from Southern Africa for a project designed to characterize the South Atlantic Anomaly, a weak spot in the Earth’s dipole magnetic field. Under certain conditions, the magnetic minerals in these samples can preserve the strength and orientation of Earth’s magnetic field over time. The South Atlantic Anomaly first garnered interest because of its potential linkage to a magnetic field reversal and the fact that this weak spot leaves satellites susceptible to radiation. I worked on this project as an undergraduate student researcher until I graduated from the University of Rochester in 2015. My current reasearch does not include any paleomagnetism, but from 2018 – 2019 I helped prepare and perform experiments to place time constraints on paleontological samples from the Triassic. Although my research has diverged from the field of paleomagnetism, it still interests me. The geomagnetic field is so important: it protects us from solar radiation, thereby allowing us to have an atmosphere, water, and, ultimately, life on Earth.


Tarduno, J., Watkeys, M., Huffman, T., Cottrell, R.D., Blackman, E.G., Wendt, A., Scribner, C.A., and Wagner, C.L.. Antiquity of the South Atlantic Anomaly and evidence for top-down control on the geodynamo. Nat Commun 6, 7865 (2015).

Please feel free

to reach out!

Contact information:

Courtney Wagner, Ph.D.

Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow

Smithsonian Institution, NMNH

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