Timing of magnetite formation in basaltic glass: Insights from synthetic analogs and relevance for geomagnetic paleointensity analyses
Absolute paleointensity estimates from submarine basaltic glass (SBG) typically are of high technical quality and accurately reflect the ambient field when known. SBG contains fine-grained, low-Ti magnetite, in contrast to the high-Ti magnetite in crystalline basalt, which has lead to uncertainty over the origin of the magnetite and its remanence in SBG. Because a thermal remanence is required for accurate paleointensity estimates, the timing and temperature of magnetite formation is crucial. To assess these factors, we generated a suite of synthetic glasses with variable oxygen fugacity, cooling rate, and FeO* content. Magnetic properties varied most strongly with crystallinity; less crystalline specimens are similar to natural SBG and have weaker magnetization, a greater superparamagnetic contribution, and higher unblocking temperatures than more crystalline specimens. Thellier-type paleointensity results recovered the correct field within 1σ error with 2 (out of 10) exceptions that likely result from an undetected change in the laboratory field. Unblocking and ordering temperature data demonstrate that low-Ti magnetite is a primary phase, formed when the glass initially quenched. Although prolonged heating at high temperatures (during paleointensity experiments) may result in minor alteration at temperatures < 580°C, this does not appear to impact the accuracy of the paleointensity estimate. Young SBG is therefore a suitable material for paleointensity studies.
Bowles, Julie A.; Gee, Jeffrey S.; Burgess, Katherine; and Cooper, Reid F., "Timing of magnetite formation in basaltic glass: Insights from synthetic analogs and relevance for geomagnetic paleointensity analyses" (2011). Geosciences Faculty Articles. 4.
Originally published in Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, v.12, no.2 (February 9, 2011). doi:10.1029/2010GC003404