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This question is fairly straight forward, but I can't it figure out.

I am using the schema browser in the IDE to query some records and the SystemModstamp is actually 1 second later than the LastModifiedDate so they are obviously different. But hence the question: what is the difference?

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Here's the documentation: Salesforce's System Fields doc page‌​. – Peter Knolle Jan 16 '13 at 21:14
SystemModStamp doesn't seem to capture if the record is updated via apex trigger nor via formula field. – user2974 Jun 4 '13 at 7:51
up vote 14 down vote accepted

LastModifiedDate is the date the record was last updated by a user. SystemModstamp is the date the record was last modified (by a user, workflow, trigger, etc.).

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If you ask nicely, salesforce will let you set the last modified by (as in, you're importing records after a merger and want to maintain the created and modified stamps from the old system).

You can't ever touch the system modstamp.

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