Full vector model for magnetization in sediments

Mitra, R, Tauxe L.  2009.  Full vector model for magnetization in sediments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 286:535-545.

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acquisition, compaction, density, depositional remanent magnetization, depositional remanent magnetization (DRM), flattening (shallowing), flocculation, geomagnetic-field, inclination, intensity, north-atlantic, paleointensity, salinity, sedimentary paleointensity


Sediments provide a continuous record of past geomagnetic field variations. Although it is theoretically possible to get both the direction and intensity of the geomagnetic field from sediment records the, mechanism is not fully understood. Previous workers have postulated that flocculation plays an important role in detrital remanent magnetism (DRM). Flocs are porous, loose and highly fragile aggregates of microscopic clay particles and their behavior in a viscous medium is likely to be different than single particles of magnetic minerals. In order to understand the role of flocculation in sediment magnetization, we carried out a set of redeposition experiments at different field intensities and a quasi-constant field inclination of 45 degrees. We present here a simple numerical model of flocculation, incorporating both magnetic and hydrodynamic torques to explain the experimental data. At small floc sizes DRM acquisition is likely to be non-linear in field strengths comparable to the Earth's, but the sediments may be able to record the directions accurately. With increasing floc sizes sediments may retain a record of the intensity that is linearly related to the applied field or a direction parallel to the applied field, but are unlikely to do both at the same time. Also, the majority of the magnetic particles in the sediments may not be contributing significantly towards the net DRM and any bulk normalizing parameter may be unsuitable if the depositional environment has changed over the depositional period. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.