Preliminary Characterization of Submarine Basalt Magnetic Mineralogy Using Amplitude-Dependence of Magnetic Susceptibility

H. Yang, S. M. Tikoo, C. Carvallo, D. Bilardello, P. Solheid, K. M. Gaastra, W. W. Sager, S. Thoram, K. Hoernle, T. W. Höfig, A. Avery, A. V. Del Gaudio, Y. Huang, R. Bhutani, D. M. Buchs, C. Class, Y. Dai, G. Dalla Valle, S. Fielding, S. HanD. E. Heaton, S. Homrighausen, Y. Kubota, C. F. Li, W. R. Nelson, E. Petrou, K. E. Potter, S. Pujatti, J. Scholpp, J. W. Shervais, M. Tshiningayamwe, X. J. Wang, M. Widdowson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The past ∼200 million years of Earth's geomagnetic field behavior have been recorded within oceanic basalts, many of which are only accessible via scientific ocean drilling. Obtaining the best possible paleomagnetic measurements from such valuable samples requires an a priori understanding of their magnetic mineralogies when choosing the most appropriate protocol for stepwise demagnetization experiments (either alternating field or thermal). Here, we present a quick, and non-destructive method that utilizes the amplitude-dependence of magnetic susceptibility to screen submarine basalts prior to choosing a demagnetization protocol, whenever conducting a pilot study or other detailed rock-magnetic characterization is not possible. We demonstrate this method using samples acquired during International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 391. Our approach is rooted in the observation that amplitude-dependent magnetic susceptibility is observed in basalt samples whose dominant magnetic carrier is multidomain titanomagnetite (∼TM60–65, (Ti0.60–0.65Fe0.35–0.40)Fe2O4). Samples with low Ti contents within titanomagnetite or samples that have experienced a high degree of oxidative weathering do not display appreciable amplitude dependence. Due to their low Curie temperatures, basalts that possess amplitude-dependence should ideally be demagnetized either using alternating fields or via finely-spaced thermal demagnetization heating steps below 300°C. Our screening method can enhance the success rate of paleomagnetic studies of oceanic basalt samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023GC011222
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

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© 2024 The Authors. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.


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