Measuring remanence anisotropy of hematite in red beds: Anisotropy of high-field isothermal remanence magnetization (hf-AIR)

Dario Bilardello, Kenneth P. Kodama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The potential of using high-field anisotropy of isothermal remanence magnetization (hf-AIR) measurements for determining the origin of natural remanent magnetization in red beds and for identifying and correcting possible red-bed inclination shallowing was investigated for specimens of the Carboniferous Shepody Formation of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada. The technique makes it possible for a typical paleomagnetic laboratory to measure the remanence anisotropy of high-coercivity hematite. High-field (hf) AIR was used in conjunction with 100 mT alternating field (af) and 120 °C thermal demagnetization to separate the contribution of hematite to the remanence anisotropy from that of magnetite/maghemite and goethite, respectively. A 5-T impulse DC magnetic field was used for the hf-AIR to reset the magnetic moment of high-coercivity hematite so that demagnetization between AIR orientations was not necessary. The ability of a 5-T field to reset the magnetization was tested by generating an isothermal remanent magnetization acquisition curve for hematite by using impulse DC magnetic fields up to 5 T in one orientation and followed by applying a field in the opposite direction at each step. Each field application was treated by 120 °C heating and 100 mT af demagnetization before measurement. At 5 T, the difference between the magnetizations applied in opposite directions disappeared indicating that no magnetic memory persisted at this field strength. We performed a validity and reproducibility test of our hf-AIR measurement technique by measuring three specimens multiple times along two orthogonal coordinate systems. The method yielded highly reproducible results and, on rotating the specimen's coordinates, the fabric rotated by 90° as expected, showing that it is not an artifact of the technique. We also measured hf-AIR on samples that had previously been chemically demagnetized in 3N HCl to remove the secondary, chemically grown pigmentary hematite. The hf-AIR fabric of leached samples is similar to that of untreated samples, but shows a better-defined magnetic lineation and imbrication. We interpret the fabric observed for the Shepody Formation to be a compactional fabric that has been reoriented by strain during folding following a flexural-slip model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1260-1272
Number of pages13
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Magnetic fabrics and anisotropy
  • Magnetic mineralogy and petrology
  • Paleomagnetism applied to geologic processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring remanence anisotropy of hematite in red beds: Anisotropy of high-field isothermal remanence magnetization (hf-AIR)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this