One suspects that many things have been factored into the uniformitarian scientific model not because they are inherently more likely than alternative ideas that are discarded but merely because they fit the pattern of the uniformitarian hypothesis. One of these is the discovery in the early 1960s of magnetic stripes on the sea floor, firstly in deep Atlantic waters, and then in other ocean basins such as the Pacific. In one of those Eureka moments several strands of science came together and locked in Plate Tectonics with the Milankovitch cycle of eccentricity. Continental Draft, which had been on the sidelines, was suddenly in fashion, and likewise, although some prominent scientists had favoured the Milankovitch cycles the theory was on the sidelines of the consensus as it was thought to have a negligible effect on climate. The discovery of magnetic stripes coincided with the first sediment cores taken from the deep ocean, and these had a pattern that seemed to show alternate cool and warm periods. They were taken to reflect the 100,000 year eccentricity cycle, a sort of heartbeat in the deep, and 7 of these cycles nestled within the last magnetic stripe, which was a measurement. The last stripe, in the Atlantic at least, is generally dated to around 750,000 years ago, and encompasses the last seven Ice Ages. A whole series of magnetic stripes were found leading back to the Mid Ocean Ridge and it seemed perfectly clear that it was not the continents moving, as such, but the sea floor spreading, in both directions outwards from that ridge. In an instant Alfred Wegener came in from the cold, and his ideas, or something similar to them, was adopted into the academic consensus, along with Milankovitch cycles. The eureka moment involved the marraige of the Ice Age theory with that of geological geochronology via Plate Tectonics (which went on to evolve over the last 50 years as different problems surfaced). Uniformitarianism was strengthened.
Now, in every conventional and consensus article and book on the subject you might like to read there is no evidence of dissent. Magnetic stripes are a central part of the model and no doubt is cast on their veracity – or the dating applied to them. It has become a fact. Any kind of research attempting to understand the Ice Ages by ignoring this uniformitarian shackle is unlikely to be published in mainstream journals. It is a fundamental plank in the theory of the Ice Ages and the idea that every 100,000 years there is a temporary lull in the unremitting cold weather, a brief inter glacial episode lasting between 10 and 20,000 years in duration. It is so well established that any comment on the past climate has sceptics saying that warming is not unusual, look at all those inter glacial episodes and we are nearly at the end of the one we are living in. Global warmers no doubt find this a bit mollifying and exagerate the current warming still further – raising the hype to ridiculous levels. The 100,000 year cycle and the magnetic stripes are a fundamental of the consensus view of the past. It is rock solid. Cast iron. A paradygm to be defended by the usual crew of the 'faithful to the flock' – in this instance, those emersed in the uniformitarian hypothesis.
Now, we might suspect that non-uniformitarians may have a more jaundiced view of magnetic stripes and the cycle of eccentricity – and they do. See www.newgeology.us/presentation25.html which might not be everybody's cup of tea, but don't spill your coffee just yet. You might be surprised to learn that the magnetic stripes theory is not quite on the solid foundations we are led to believe – are we being hoodwinked? Read and enjoy and make up your own mind.
It involves electro-magnetic activity, possibly as a result of innumerable and simultaneous bursts of lightning between the bowels of the earth and the ionosphere above. It also involves what is called the Shock Dynamics theory – which may not be the whole picture (or even some of it). However, all things are due some consideration and even more revealing, according to David Pratt, the magnetic stripes model has numerous problems and not least the simplistic nature of it that seems to fly in the face of some recent ocean drilling results (quoting Hall and Robinson, 1979, Science 204 p573-586, and Pratsch, 1986, Oil and Gas Journal 84 p112-116). The existence of different polarity zones at different depths seems to suggest the source of the magnetic anomalies lies in deeper levels of the crust – which is opposite to the consensus view that it is only in the upper rock of the sea basin that is subject to electro-magnetism. The deeper rocks have not of course been drilled into – so it is open. There are also vertically alternating layers of opposing magnetic polarisation directions which have yet to be explained. The article ends by saying, 'given that the magnetic stripe timescale is probably fictional any correspondence between plate motion estimates derived from it and space-geodetic data is likely to be either coincidental or the result of biased interpretation.' Slap!