We present a summary evaluation of the distribution and qualitative ranking of the Plio-Pleistocene magnetostratigraphic results obtained to date from Deep Sea Drilling Project and Ocean Drilling Program piston-cored sites. A review of the published magnetostratigraphic records provides insights into the important extrinsic and intrinsic factors which affect the quality of the paleomagnetic records. The extrinsic factors originate with drilling processes, such as core barrel remagnetization, and steps can be taken to reduce these effects and improve the data quality, The distribution of the high-quality records correlates well both with areas of terrigenous sediment input as well as regions of moderate biological productivity. This suggests that important intrinsic factors include the origin of the original magnetic carrier in the sediment (lithogenic or biogenic) and the degree to which the magnetic carrier has been affected by reduction diagenesis.
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