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The magnetic properties of geologic materials offer insights into an enormous range of important geophysical phenomena ranging from inner core dynamics to paleoclimate. Often it is the low-temperature behavior (<300 K) of magnetic minerals that provides the most useful and highest sensitivity information for a given problem. Conventional measurements of low-temperature remanence are typically conducted on instruments that are limited to measuring one single-axis component of the magnetization vector and are optimized for measurements in strong fields. These instrumental limitations have prevented fully optimized applications and have motivated the development of a low-temperature probe that can be used for low-temperature remanence measurements between 17 and 300 K along three orthogonal axes using a standard 2G Enterprises SQuID rock magnetometer. In this contribution, we describe the design and implementation of this instrument and present data from five case studies that demonstrate the probe’s considerable potential for future research: a polycrystalline hematite sample, a polycrystalline hematite and magnetite mixture, a single crystal of magnetite, a single crystal of pyrrhotite, and samples of Umkondo Large Igneous Province diabase sills.


Originally published in Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (2015). doi:10.1002/2014GC005591