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Title: Experimental test of the cooling rate effect on blocking temperatures in stepwise thermal demagnetization
SUMMARY Upon cooling, most rocks acquire a thermoremanent magnetization (TRM); the cooling rate at which this happens not only affects palaeointensity estimates, but also their unblocking temperatures in stepwise thermal demagnetization experiments, which is important, for example, to estimate volcanic emplacement temperatures. Traditional single-domain (SD) theory of magnetic remanence relates relaxation times to blocking temperatures— the blocking temperature is the temperature at which the relaxation time becomes shorter than the experimental timescale—and therefore strictly only applies to remanence acquisition mechanisms at constant temperatures (i.e. viscous remanent magnetizations, VRMs). A theoretical framework to relate (constant) blocking temperatures to (time-varying) cooling rates exists, but this theory has very limited experimental verification—partly due to the difficulty of accurately knowing the cooling rates of geological materials. Here we present an experimental test of this ‘cooling rate effect on blocking temperatures’ through a series of demagnetization experiments of laboratory-induced TRMs with controlled cooling rates. The tested cooling rates span about 1 order of magnitude and are made possible through (1) extremely accurate demagnetization experiments using a low-temperature magnetic properties measurement system (MPMS) and (2) the use of a ‘1-step-only’ stepwise thermal demagnetization protocol where the relaxation process is measured over time. In this way the relaxation time corresponding to the blocking temperature is measured, which can be done to much higher accuracy than measuring the blocking temperature directly as done in traditional stepwise thermal demagnetization experiments. Our experiments confirm that the cooling rate relationship holds to high accuracy for ideal magnetic recorders, as shown for a synthetic weakly interacting SD magnetoferritin sample. A SD-dominated low-Ti titanomagnetite Tiva Canyon Tuff sample, however, showed that natural samples are unlikely to be sufficiently ‘ideal’ to meet the theoretical predictions to high accuracy—the experimental data agrees only approximately with the theoretical predictions, which may potentially affect blocking temperature estimates in stepwise thermal demagnetization experiments. Moreover, we find a strongly enhanced cooling rate effect on palaeointensities for even marginally non-ideal samples (up to 43 per cent increase in pTRM for a halving of the cooling rate).  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Journal International
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1116 to 1126
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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