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Magnetic alteration of zero-age oceanic basalt

Kent, Dennis V.; Gee, Jeffrey S.

The youngest sampled submarine lava flow, which erupted June 1993 on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, provides the basis for a tight constraint on the initial or zero-age magnetization state of MORB. Detailed profiles of magnetic hysteresis parameters, Curie temperatures, and unblocking temperatures of NRM with respect to the chilled margin of a pillow fragment show evidence of significant oxidation, which preferentially affected the finest grain-size fraction and principal remanence carrier of the titanomagnetite magnetic mineralogy. The oxidation must have occurred during or immediately after initial cooling, implying that MORB is already appreciably magnetically altered before aging. Nevertheless, successful results of Thellier paleointensity experiments on the basalt sample lend support to the idea that crustal magnetization represented by MORB preserves a record of geomagnetic intensity variations that may be reflected in small-scale magnetic anomalies.

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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Published Here
January 23, 2012
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