Institute for rock magnetism

Institute for rock magnetism DEFAULT

Today's Schedule - Institute for Rock Magnetism

Today’s Schedule

• Introduction to Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism and



•Lab Tour: InstituteforRockMagnetism

(Shepherd Labs, second floor)


Geological Society of Minnesota



Instrumentation & Facilities Program

Division of Earth Sciences

National Science Foundation


Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)

Consortium for Materials Properties Research in Earth Sciences (COMPRES)

UNAVCO, A Geodetic Consortium

GeoSoilEnviroCARS Synchrotron Radiation Beamlines at the Advanced Photon Source


Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory (PRIME Lab)

NSF - University of Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) Laboratory

InstituteforRockMagnetism (IRM)


Arizona State University SIMS Laboratories

University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility (UTCT)

National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM)

Amino Acid Geochronology Laboratory (AAGL)

Drilling, Observation and Sampling of the Earth’s Continental Crust, Inc. (DOSECC)

Arizona LaserChron Center (ALCC)

The University of Wisconsin SIMS Lab (Wisc-SIMS)

What is RockMagnetism?

• Geomagnetism

Study of the Earth’s magnetic field, short‐term time

variations and origins

• Paleomagnetism

Study of the Earth’s magnetic field over geological time,

as recorded in remanent magnetization in naturally

occurring magnetic minerals

RockMagnetism (fundamental)

Study of the physical/chemical basis of paleomagnetism

RockMagnetism (applied)

Magnetic characterization of rock/sediment fabric, iron

mineralogy and size distributions

Why Study Paleomagnetism and Geomagnetism?

• Probe of Deep Earth Dynamics

(Glatzmaier and Roberts, Nature ‐,

Glatzmaier and Olson, SA, )

Probe of Deep Earth Dynamics:

Role of Inner Core?

Paleointensity and Growth of Inner Core

(Tarduno et al., )

Probe of Deep Earth Dynamics:

Reversal Paths and

CMB Heterogeneity?

Record of polarity transition

recorded at Steens Mountain

(Figure from Tauxe, )

Core‐mantle boundary

topography (figure from

Costin & Buffett, )

Probe of Deep Earth Dynamics:

Reversals and Paleointensity Variations

Long‐term Paleointensity

Tauxe & Staudigel, GGG

Why Study Paleomagnetism

and Geomagnetism?


Why Study Paleomagnetism and


• Geologic and Geophysical History of lithospheric plate motions

Why Study

Paleomagnetism and


Regional Tectonics

Tectonostratigraphic terranes of the North

American Cordillera. (From Butler, )

Why Study Paleomagnetism and Geomagnetism?

Environmental Magnetism (Paleoclimatic reconstructions,

sediment source tracing)


Environmental Magnetism (Paleoclimatic reconstructions,

sediment source tracing)

Chinese Loess

Verosub & Roberts,

Environmental Magnetism (Paleoclimatic reconstructions,

sediment source tracing)


maps for the Chinese

Loess Plateau, based

on magnetic properties

Why Study Paleomagnetism

and Geomagnetism?


R.E. Kopp, J.L. Kirschvink,

Favre and Schuler,

Magnetotactic bacteria

synthesize chains of magnetic

nanoparticles that help them

navigate in the geomagnetic


Magnetofossils in Marine

sediments (S. Atlantic, Angola

Basin, 50 ma)

Possible oldest magnetofossils

~2 Gyr stromatolithic chert

(Chang et at.,


Martian Magnetofossils???

Nanoparticles of magnetite as

potential biomarkers

(K.L. Thomas‐Keprta, GCA, )

Martian Magnetic Anomalies

Mars Global Surveyor,

What Makes Paleomagnetism Possible?

• SIGNAL: Planetary Magnetic Field (>3 Ga)

–Fe is 4 th most abundant element in crust

–Fe has the property of permanent magnetism

• Recording Media: Fe forms oxides and sulfides,

some of which are magnetic minerals

–Fe‐oxides are common accessory minerals in rocks,

sediments, soils (

Types of NRM

Primary NRM



Magnetization (TRM)

Detrital Remanent

Magnetization (DRM)

Chemical Remanent

Magnetization (CRM)


Cooling through T c

Deposition of magnetic


Growth (alteration) of

magnetic grains





Viscous Remanent Long-term exposure to Time

Magnetization (VRM)

H a


Lighting strikes Field

Magnetization (IRM) Exposure to large H a

Chemical Remanent Growth (alteration) of


Magnetization (CRM) magnetic grains

Partial TRM (pTRM) Reheating below T c


What Makes Paleomagnetism Possible?

• Sensitive magnetometers are available to measure the weak

magnetic signals in earth (and planetary) materials

MPMS (Magnetic Property

Measurement System)

Vibrating Sample


DC SQUID U‐Channel

Magnetometer and Shielded


How is RockMagnetism Different from the Study of

Magnetic Recording and Permanent Magnets?

Hard Disk: highly ordered magnetic system

designed to carry maximum information

content in smallest possible space

Rock: Not optimized for magnetic recording

– Disordered system of irregular shaped particles with

complex compositions, geometries, and crystal defects

– Magnetic minerals form only a small (

Physics of Magnetism

Electricity Magnetism

Hans Christian Oersted (‐)


Current flowing in a wire

deflects a compass needle

Discovers magnetism due to

electric currents.

André‐Marie Ampère (‐)

Explains magnetism in terms

of forces between electric




Magnetism Electricity

Physics of Magnetism

Michael Faraday (‐)

Faraday’s Law



A time varying magnetic

field induces an electric

current in a coil

James Clerk Maxwell (‐)

Maxwell’s Equations

Unified Electricity ,

Magnetism, and Optics












Then there was light

Magnetism of Solid Materials

Atomic dipole moments

– Microscopic current loops

Magnetic moments are produced by

electrical currents associated with the

motion of electron about atomic nuclei

Bar magnet



Earth as a Magnet

Geomagnetic Field

at surface is similar

to a magnetic


Field points in

• Magnetic inclination is related to

geographic latitude

• North magnetic pole ≈ aligned

with rotation axis

Field points out

Components of the Magnetic Field

B h =Bcos(I)

B(units) =Tesla

B earth ~ 30‐60x10 ‐6 T (30‐60 µT)

B v =Bsin(I)


Angle of Declination D

Compass direction 0≤D≤

Angle of Inclination I

‐90 ≤ I≤ 90



(Isogonic maps)


(Isoclinic maps)

IGRF Model



Reference Field

Total Intensity

(Isodynamic maps)

Magnetic Poles

Magnetic North Pole where the

magnetic field is straight down

(I = +90).

Geomagnetic North Pole where

the axis of the best tilting

dipole pierces the surface.





Geographic North Pole

Virtual Geomagnetic Pole (VGP). Geocentric

dipole which would give rise to the observed

magnetic field direction at a given latitude (λ)

and longitude (φ)


Paleomagnetic Pole. Ancient pole position

averaged over 10 6 ‐10 8 years

Magnetic field of the Earth measured at the

surface comes from three sources

Main field generated by

dynamo action in the outer


External field generated in

space in the magnetosphere

Crustal field from remanent


External Field


Crustal Field


Internal Core Field

~98% of Field

External field varies with time scales of minutes to days

Core field varies with time scales from years to millions of years

(Constable, )

Crustal Magnetic Field

NGDC B z at Earth’s Surface

Permanent (remanent) magnetization only possible above the Curie depth

Direction of remnant magnetization depends on main field direction at time

rocks became magnetized




Val W. Chandler and

Richard S. Lively, MGS

Time Variations in GMF

• Most of surface field (~99%) is

generated in liquid outer core

– Flow is influenced by rotation

of Earth and geometry of

inner core

– Flow produces secular

variation in magnetic field

• Crustal magnetic sources makes a

small, static contribution

• External field (outside of solid


Interactions of charged particles and B E

Olson et al.,

Secular Variation of

Geomagnetic Field

• Historical record of

geomagnetic field direction at

Greenwich, England.

• Change in Declination in

Minnesota (‐)



IGRF version 10

Twin Cities

Time variation

internal motions of km’s/year

Declination (East)









Glatzmaier and Coe,

Reversal History

Geomagnetic polarity

timescale from marine

magnetic anomalies

for 0– Ma.


Reversal History

Early Mesozoic, Paleozoic,


Exposed stratigraphic sections on land

GPTS much less refined

On average field spends about

50% of its time in each polarity

1‐2% in transitional state


Origins of the Geomagnetic Field

1. Remanent Magnetization of Crust?

Too weak

2. Remanent Magnetization of Mantle or Core?

Too hot, Cannot exist (T>Curie Temperature)

3. Primordial Magnetic Field?

equatorial current flow

Too old, Subject to diffusion (time

Mineral Magnetism

Chemical composition

Crystallographic structure


Applied magnetic fields

Magnetite octahedra from

Cerro Huanaquino, Bolivia.

Photo by Rob Lavinsky,

Classification of Magnetic Materials

3 Main Types

T= K, B=1 T, H=80, A/m

SiO 2 (quartz)

M=‐ Am 2 /kg

Fe 2 SiO 4 (fayalite olivine)

M= Am 2 /kg

Fe 3 O 4 (magnetite)

M=92Am 2 /kg


< 0

Diamagnetism Paramagnetism Ferromagnetism


(no magnetic atoms)

An external field can modify electron orbitals producing a

small induced magnetization opposite to the applied field

Diamagnetic materials are pushed away from strong

fields (magnetic levitation)

Diamagnetism is very weak and usually masked by

paramagnetism and ferromagnetism

(x10 ‐8 m 3 /kg)

Quartz (SiO 2 ) ‐

Calcite (CaCO 3 ) ‐

Water ‐



(magnetic atoms not ordered)





Curie’s Law

Magnetic Energy: Application of field causes alignment of moments

E m =Bcosθ

Thermal Energy: Randomizes moment

E T = kT, k=Boltzmann’s constant (k=× 10 ‐23 m 2 kg s ‐2 K ‐1 )



Fayalite (=5 B )

B,T E m E T E m /E T

B= T, T=K x10 ‐25 J x10 ‐21 J 10 ‐4

B=1T, T=10K x10 ‐23 J x10 ‐22 J


(magnetic atoms spontaneously aligned)

Key features of ferromagnetic materials

Shape of M‐H curve

Shape of M‐T curve


d=50 nm


M/M sat





Spontaneous (saturation) Magnetization

Magnetic Ordering Temperature

(T c , Curie Temperature)


Fe 3 O 4




Fe 3 O 4 C

Fe C

Ni C

Co C

Magnetically Ordered Materials

When the applied field is zero, the

internal field is still present and leads to

magnetic ordering and spontaneous






Ferromagnetism Fe, Ni, Co, NiFe, Gd

Antiferromagnetism MnO, FeTiO 3


Ferrimagnetism Fe 3

O 4

(magnetite), MOFe 2

O 3


where M=transition metal

Main Types of



(Fe, Ni)

(ilmenite, FeTiO 3 )

(magnetite, Fe 3 O 4 )

(hematite, -Fe 2 O 3 )

(goethite, -FeO(OH))

Antiferromagnetic Minerals




M s

(Am 2 /kg)


Ilmenite (FeTiO 3 ) 40 0 AFM

Ulvospinel (Fe 2 TiO 4 0 AFM

Hematite (-Fe 2 O 3 ) canted

Goethite (-FeOOH) ~ defect

Lepidocrocite (-FeOOH) 52 ~ defect

Siderite (FeCO 3 ) 37 canted

Rhodocrosite (MnCO 3 ) 34 canted

Vivianite (Fe 3 [PO 4 ] 2 8H 2 O ~12 (?) defect?

Ferrihydrite (Fe 5 HO 8 4H 2 O) ~ non-compensated

Data from various sources

Ferrimagnetic Minerals

Mineral T N (K) M s (Am 2 /kg)

at K

Magnetite (Fe 3 O 4) 92

Maghemite (-Fe 2 O 3 ) 73

Greigite (Fe 3 S 4 ) Unknown, 59


Pyrrhotite (Fe 7 S 8 ) 20

Jacobsite (MnFe 2 O 4 ) 77

Trevorite (NiFe 2 O 4 ) 51

Daubreelite (FeCr 2 S 4 ) ~ ~30 (at 70 K)

-Fe 2 O 3 ~ ~15

Feroxyhyte (-



Data from various source

Nonuniform Magnetization in Bulk Ferro‐ and Ferrimagnetic

Materials: Domains

Fe 3 O 4

Fe 3 O 4

13x13 m

() Fe 3 O 4

() Titanomagnetite


silicon iron crystal


(subdivision into domains reduces

total magnetic moment,

lower- energy state)

Magnetization process in SD Grains

Rotation of Moments

Response of a random assemblage of uniaxial single

domain (SD) particles during hysteresis cycle

Frankel and Moskowitz,

Single Domain Behavior

SD particles produced by

magnetotactic bacterium strain


d ~ nm


Magnetization process in MD grains

Translation of domain walls

a) Demagnetized state

b) In the presence of a saturating


c) Field lowered to +3 mT

d) Remanent state, e) back field of -3


Inset shows detail of domain walls

moving by small increments called

Barkhausen jumps.

(Domain wall observations from

Halgedahl and Fuller, J. Geophys.

Res., 88, , )


Room temperature

saturation remanence

(M rs ) and coercivity (H c )

as a function of grain

size for magnetite

(Dunlop and Özdemir


Magnetic Mineralogy

Magnetite and Titanomagnetites (Fe 3-x Ti x O 4

Hematite and Titanohematites (Fe 2-y Ti y O 3 )

Maghemite and Titanomaghemites

Chemical Change


High temperature oxidation , T> C (oxyexsolution)

Low temperature oxidation (titanomaghemites)

Exsolved titanomagnetite

grain (width of image


Magnetic Oxyhydroxides, Sulfides, and Fe-Ni

Bacterial Magnetite (Sicily Strait,

Dinares-Turell et al., )

Ternary diagram for iron-oxides

Most Important Magnetic Phases

Titanomagnetites (Fe 3-x Ti x O 4 )

Titanohematites (Fe 2-y Ti y O 3 )

oxidized forms (z)



Curie Temperature: K ( C)

Saturation Magnetization at 23 C

92 Am 2 /kg


Crystallographic (Verwey) transition

T V = K ( C)

Photo by Rob


SIRM (AM 2 /kg)

0 50


high-temperature M S (T)

TT v Cubic

low-temperature M R (T), dM R /dT

Hematite: Fe 2 O 3

Dunlop and Özdemir, ; Butler, 1

Wikipedia Commons

Canted Antiferromagnetism

SEM image of hematite.

Image is ~ m across.

Curie Temperature: K ( C)

Saturation Magnetization at K

Am 2 /kg

2 kA/m

pure canted


Morin Transition

Other Common Magnetic Phases

Goethite (‐FeOOH)

Common weathering product

and precursor to hematite in

sediments and soils.

Saturation Magnetization

~ Am 2 /kg


T N = K

Özdemir and Dunlop ()

Iron-Sulfides: Pyrrhotite

○ vacancies

Monoclinic pyrrhotite (Fe 7 S 8 ):


T c = K (C)

M s =~20 Am 2 /kg ( 80 kA/m)

Hexagonal pyrrhotite (Fe 10 S 11 ,Fe 9 S 10 )

structural transition from an (imperfect)

antiferromagnet to ferrimagnet at about C.

Fe 2+

Fe cations are FM coupled

within c-planes and AF

coupled between layers via

S 2- ions

Tauxe, ; Dunlop and Özdemir,

Iron-Sulfides: Greigite (Fe 3 S 4 )

Crystal Structure: Cubic, Inverse spinel

Magnetic Structure: Ferrimagnetic

Roberts et al.,

M s = kA/m, 59 Am 2 /kg


measurements of

M s

Tetrahedral (A) site

Octahedral (B) site

Chang et al.,

Synthetic greigite


Biogenic greigite produced by bacteria

Sedimentary greigite and pyrite

Bazylinski et al., ; Moskowitz et al,

Roberts et al.,

Greigite and Pyrrhotite occur in reducing environments and both

tend to oxidize to various iron oxides leaving paramagnetic pyrite

as the sulfide component.

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Magazine: Today's Schedule - Institute for Rock Magnetism


Continuation of a Facility: Institute for Rock Magnetism
Banerjee, Subir    Moskowitz, Bruce    Jackson, Michael    Marvin, James   
University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, United States

This grant provides continued support for the operation, maintenance and development of the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM) at the University of Minnesota. The IRM is a cost-effective means for providing the U.S. and international geoscience, materials science and physics communities with access to both a knowledge base and analytical arsenal that cannot be found elsewhere in the world. The application of rock magnetic techniques pioneered and/or adopted by IRM faculty that are specifically designed for low temperature, nondestructive characterization of magnetic mineral recorders continues to find broad use both by the faculty at Minnesota and by U.S. and international geoscientists. Techniques have been developed to identify biogenic magnetic minerals in marine samples through low temperature remanence measurements. Other low temperature techniques have been used to identify superparamagnetic material produced during pedogenesis in loess-paleosol sequences and these data have been applied to regional paleoclimatic studies in China, central Europe and Alaska. Studies of high-resolution Holocene records of geomagnetic field variability found in Minnesota lacustrine sediments are being used to improve techniques for the accurate measurement of paleointensity, an important constraint for modeling geomagnetic field behavior. Studies utilizing the magnetic force microscope (MFM) are fundamental to our understanding of the fidelity of magnetic mineral recorders through time and their response to temperature, chemical and stress changes and provide valuable information to the magnetic media industry. Further, new collaborations of the IRM staff with archaeologists and microbiologists holds promise for constraining the timing of man's earliest agricultural practices in southern Arabia, understanding microbial life in extreme environments at depth within the Earth's crust, and detecting evidence for microbial activity in extraterrestrial samples, through the use of novel rock magnetic and paleomagnetic techniques and proxies. In terms of outreach, the IRM has been, and continues to be, perhaps the premier training ground for graduate students in applications of rock magnetic techniques to studies in tectonics, geomagnetic field behavior and paleoclimatology. State-of-the-art research and development at the IRM finds widespread dissemination through the IRM's heralded "Visiting Scholars" program, which brings researchers from around the world to Minnesota to utilize the instruments and develop symbiotic working relationships with the IRM staff. Further, the biannual Santa Fe conference advertises the successes of many of the unique instruments and techniques available at the IRM (i.e. Magnetic Property Measurement System, Mossbauer spectrometry, Alternating Gradient Field Magnetometer, Magnetic Force Microscope) and highlights the scientific advances in the field on an international scale. ***

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Rock magnetism

The study of magnetism in rocks

Rock magnetism is the study of the magnetic properties of rocks, sediments and soils. The field arose out of the need in paleomagnetism to understand how rocks record the Earth's magnetic field. This remanence is carried by minerals, particularly certain strongly magnetic minerals like magnetite (the main source of magnetism in lodestone). An understanding of remanence helps paleomagnetists to develop methods for measuring the ancient magnetic field and correct for effects like sediment compaction and metamorphism. Rock magnetic methods are used to get a more detailed picture of the source of the distinctive striped pattern in marine magnetic anomalies that provides important information on plate tectonics. They are also used to interpret terrestrial magnetic anomalies in magnetic surveys as well as the strong crustal magnetism on Mars.

Strongly magnetic minerals have properties that depend on the size, shape, defect structure and concentration of the minerals in a rock. Rock magnetism provides non-destructive methods for analyzing these minerals such as magnetic hysteresis measurements, temperature-dependent remanence measurements, Mössbauer spectroscopy, ferromagnetic resonance and so on. With such methods, rock magnetists can measure the effects of past climate change and human impacts on the mineralogy (see environmental magnetism). In sediments, a lot of the magnetic remanence is carried by minerals that were created by magnetotactic bacteria, so rock magnetists have made significant contributions to biomagnetism.


Until the 20th century, the study of the Earth's field (geomagnetism and paleomagnetism) and of magnetic materials (especially ferromagnetism) developed separately.

Rock magnetism had its start when scientists brought these two fields together in the laboratory.[1] Koenigsberger (), Thellier () and Nagata () investigated the origin of remanence in igneous rocks.[1] By heating rocks and archeological materials to high temperatures in a magnetic field, they gave the materials a thermoremanent magnetization (TRM), and they investigated the properties of this magnetization. Thellier developed a series of conditions (the Thellier laws) that, if fulfilled, would allow the determination of the intensity of the ancient magnetic field to be determined using the Thellier–Thellier method. In , Louis Néel developed a theory that explained these observations, showed that the Thellier laws were satisfied by certain kinds of single-domain magnets, and introduced the concept of blocking of TRM.[2]

When paleomagnetic work in the s lent support to the theory of continental drift,[3][4] skeptics were quick to question whether rocks could carry a stable remanence for geological ages.[5] Rock magnetists were able to show that rocks could have more than one component of remanence, some soft (easily removed) and some very stable. To get at the stable part, they took to "cleaning" samples by heating them or exposing them to an alternating field. However, later events, particularly the recognition that many North American rocks had been pervasively remagnetized in the Paleozoic,[6] showed that a single cleaning step was inadequate, and paleomagnetists began to routinely use stepwise demagnetization to strip away the remanence in small bits.


Types of magnetic order[edit]

The contribution of a mineral to the total magnetism of a rock depends strongly on the type of magnetic order or disorder. Magnetically disordered minerals (diamagnets and paramagnets) contribute a weak magnetism and have no remanence. The more important minerals for rock magnetism are the minerals that can be magnetically ordered, at least at some temperatures. These are the ferromagnets, ferrimagnets and certain kinds of antiferromagnets. These minerals have a much stronger response to the field and can have a remanence.


Diamagnetism is a magnetic response shared by all substances. In response to an applied magnetic field, electrons precess (see Larmor precession), and by Lenz's law they act to shield the interior of a body from the magnetic field. Thus, the moment produced is in the opposite direction to the field and the susceptibility is negative. This effect is weak but independent of temperature. A substance whose only magnetic response is diamagnetism is called a diamagnet.


Paramagnetism is a weak positive response to a magnetic field due to rotation of electron spins. Paramagnetism occurs in certain kinds of iron-bearing minerals because the iron contains an unpaired electron in one of their shells (see Hund's rules). Some are paramagnetic down to absolute zero and their susceptibility is inversely proportional to the temperature (see Curie's law); others are magnetically ordered below a critical temperature and the susceptibility increases as it approaches that temperature (see Curie–Weiss law).


Schematic of parallel spin directions in a ferromagnet.

Collectively, strongly magnetic materials are often referred to as ferromagnets. However, this magnetism can arise as the result of more than one kind of magnetic order. In the strict sense, ferromagnetism refers to magnetic ordering where neighboring electron spins are aligned by the exchange interaction. The classic ferromagnet is iron. Below a critical temperature called the Curie temperature, ferromagnets have a spontaneous magnetization and there is hysteresis in their response to a changing magnetic field. Most importantly for rock magnetism, they have remanence, so they can record the Earth's field.

Iron does not occur widely in its pure form. It is usually incorporated into iron oxides, oxyhydroxides and sulfides. In these compounds, the iron atoms are not close enough for direct exchange, so they are coupled by indirect exchange or superexchange. The result is that the crystal lattice is divided into two or more sublattices with different moments.[1]


Schematic of unbalanced antiparallel moments in a ferrimagnet.

Ferrimagnets have two sublattices with opposing moments. One sublattice has a larger moment, so there is a net unbalance. Magnetite, the most important of the magnetic minerals, is a ferrimagnet. Ferrimagnets often behave like ferromagnets, but the temperature dependence of their spontaneous magnetization can be quite different. Louis Néel identified four types of temperature dependence, one of which involves a reversal of the magnetization. This phenomenon played a role in controversies over marine magnetic anomalies.


Schematic of alternating spin directions in an antiferromagnet.

Antiferromagnets, like ferrimagnets, have two sublattices with opposing moments, but now the moments are equal in magnitude. If the moments are exactly opposed, the magnet has no remanence. However, the moments can be tilted (spin canting), resulting in a moment nearly at right angles to the moments of the sublattices. Hematite has this kind of magnetism.

Magnetic mineralogy[edit]

Main article: Magnetic mineralogy

Types of remanence[edit]

Magnetic remanence is often identified with a particular kind of remanence that is obtained after exposing a magnet to a field at room temperature. However, the Earth's field is not large, and this kind of remanence would be weak and easily overwritten by later fields. A central part of rock magnetism is the study of magnetic remanence, both as natural remanent magnetization (NRM) in rocks obtained from the field and remanence induced in the laboratory. Below are listed the important natural remanences and some artificially induced kinds.

Thermoremanent magnetization (TRM)[edit]

Main article: Thermoremanent magnetization

When an igneous rock cools, it acquires a thermoremanent magnetization (TRM) from the Earth's field. TRM can be much larger than it would be if exposed to the same field at room temperature (see isothermal remanence). This remanence can also be very stable, lasting without significant change for millions of years. TRM is the main reason that paleomagnetists are able to deduce the direction and magnitude of the ancient Earth's field.[7]

If a rock is later re-heated (as a result of burial, for example), part or all of the TRM can be replaced by a new remanence. If it is only part of the remanence, it is known as partial thermoremanent magnetization (pTRM). Because numerous experiments have been done modeling different ways of acquiring remanence, pTRM can have other meanings. For example, it can also be acquired in the laboratory by cooling in zero field to a temperature T_{1} (below the Curie temperature), applying a magnetic field and cooling to a temperature T_{2}, then cooling the rest of the way to room temperature in zero field.

The standard model for TRM is as follows. When a mineral such as magnetite cools below the Curie temperature, it becomes ferromagnetic but is not immediately capable of carrying a remanence. Instead, it is superparamagnetic, responding reversibly to changes in the magnetic field. For remanence to be possible there must be a strong enough magnetic anisotropy to keep the magnetization near a stable state; otherwise, thermal fluctuations make the magnetic moment wander randomly. As the rock continues to cool, there is a critical temperature at which the magnetic anisotropy becomes large enough to keep the moment from wandering: this temperature is called the blocking temperature and referred to by the symbol T_{B}. The magnetization remains in the same state as the rock is cooled to room temperature and becomes a thermoremanent magnetization.

Chemical (or crystallization) remanent magnetization (CRM)[edit]

Magnetic grains may precipitate from a circulating solution, or be formed during chemical reactions, and may record the direction of the magnetic field at the time of mineral formation. The field is said to be recorded by chemical remanent magnetization (CRM). The mineral recording the field commonly is hematite, another iron oxide. Redbeds, clastic sedimentary rocks (such as sandstones) that are red primarily because of hematite formation during or after sedimentary diagenesis, may have useful CRM signatures, and magnetostratigraphy can be based on such signatures.

Depositional remanent magnetization (DRM)[edit]

Magnetic grains in sediments may align with the magnetic field during or soon after deposition; this is known as detrital remanent magnetization (DRM). If the magnetization is acquired as the grains are deposited, the result is a depositional detrital remanent magnetization (dDRM); if it is acquired soon after deposition, it is a post-depositional detrital remanent magnetization (pDRM).

Viscous remanent magnetization[edit]

Main article: Viscous remanent magnetization

Viscous remanent magnetization (VRM), also known as viscous magnetization, is remanence that is acquired by ferromagneticminerals by sitting in a magnetic field for some time. The natural remanent magnetization of an igneous rock can be altered by this process. To remove this component, some form of stepwise demagnetization must be used.[1]

Applications of rock magnetism[edit]


  1. ^ abcdDunlop & Özdemir
  2. ^Néel
  3. ^Irving
  4. ^Runcorn
  5. ^For example, Sir Harold Jeffreys, in his influential textbook The Earth, had the following to say about it:

    "When I last did a magnetic experiment (about ) we were warned against careless handling of permanent magnets, and the magnetism was liable to change without much carelessness. In studying the magnetism of rocks the specimen has to be broken off with a geological hammer and then carried to the laboratory. It is supposed that in the process its magnetism does not change to any important extent, and though I have often asked how this comes to be the case I have never received any answer.Jeffreys , p.&#;

  6. ^McCabe & Elmore
  7. ^Stacey & Banerjee


  • Dunlop, David J.; Özdemir, Özden (). Rock Magnetism: Fundamentals and Frontiers. Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN&#;.
  • Hunt, Christopher P.; Moskowitz, Bruce P. (). "Magnetic properties of rocks and minerals". In Ahrens, T. J. (ed.). Rock Physics and Phase Relations: A Handbook of Physical Constants. 3. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union. pp.&#;–
  • Irving, E. (). "Paleomagnetic and palaeoclimatological aspects of polar wandering". Geofis. Pura. Appl. 33 (1): 23– BibcodeGeoPAI. doi/BF S2CID&#;
  • Jeffreys, Sir Harold (). The earth: its origin, history, and physical constitution. Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN&#;.
  • McCabe, C.; Elmore, R. D. (). "The occurrence and origin of Late Paleozoic remagnetization in the sedimentary rocks of North America". Reviews of Geophysics. 27 (4): – BibcodeRvGeoM. doi/RGip
  • Néel, Louis (). "Théorie du traînage magnétique des ferromagnétiques en grains fins avec application aux terres cuites". Ann. Géophys. 5: 99–
  • Runcorn, S. K. (). "Paleomagnetic comparisons between Europe and North America". Proc. Geol. Assoc. Canada. 8: 77–
  • Stacey, Frank D.; Banerjee, Subir K. (). The Physical Principles of Rock Magnetism. Elsevier. ISBN&#;.

External links[edit]


New IRM Quarterly out! Summer , Volume 31, Issue 3

  • Practical Magnetism VI: another FORC in the road? Understanding, measuring, and interpreting FORC diagrams, part B, by Dario Bilardello and Ramon Egli. An article on the FORC signatures observed and expected for different mineralogies and mixtures

  • Visiting Fellow Report by Sarah Widlansky, University of New Hampshire

  • Current Visiting Fellows

  • Current Articles

General Information

Iron minerals in the rocks of Earth's crust, its sedimentary cover and within speleothems contain fossilized records of ancient geomagnetic field activity, and in their physical and chemical characteristics they hold evidence of geological and environmental processes and events that have affected them. This conference will explore the state of the art in magnetic studies of natural materials, examine methods for extracting paleomagnetic and paleoenvironmental information through magnetic analysis, and assess what such studies are telling us about the history and workings of our planet and the solar system. The IRM

Dates and Session Format

The 12th IRM Conference on Rock Magnetism will be held virtually from June 1st-4th The meeting will be hosted over zoom with four three-hour oral sessions, two keynote speakers and a poster session. The oral sessions are by invitation only, but we welcome poster presentations on any topics in rock and paleomagnetism. The conference format is designed to be interactive and in-depth, allowing extended periods of open discussion following invited lead talks on selected topics.

Visit the Conference Website for More Information!


For magnetism institute rock


Emilio Herrero Bervera: Miocene Tejeda Caldera Complex, Gran Canaria Island, Spain


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