Preferred orientation of ferromagnetic phases in rock-forming minerals: Insights from magnetic anisotropy of single crystals

Hirt, Ann Marie; Biedermann, Andrea Regina (2018). Preferred orientation of ferromagnetic phases in rock-forming minerals: Insights from magnetic anisotropy of single crystals. Canadian journal of earth sciences, 56(9), pp. 994-1001. Canadian Science Publishing 10.1139/cjes-2018-0172

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In the early days of paleomagnetism, David Strangway was interested in understanding why igneous rocks are faithful recorders of the Earth’s magnetic field. He recognized that ferromagnetic (s.l.) grains that could be discerned by optical microscopy were too large to carry a stable remanent magnetization, and speculated whether fine-grained, ferromagnetic (s.l.) inclusions or exsolutions in silicate minerals are responsible. When these inclusions or exsolutions are randomly oriented, or the silicate hosts are randomly oriented in a rock, they can be a good recorder of the field. If these minerals, however, show an alignment within the silicate host, and the host is preferentially aligned due to flow structures or deformation, then the paleomagnetic direction and paleointensity could be biased. We examine the magnetic anisotropy arising from the ferromagnetic (s.l.) phases in silicate-host minerals. Single crystals of phyllosilicate, clinopyroxene and calcite show most consistent ferrimagnetic fabric with relation to the minerals’ crystallographic axes, whereas olivine and feldspar display only a weak relationship. No discernable relationship is found between the ferrimagnetic anisotropy and crystallographic axes for amphibole minerals. Our results have implications when single crystals are being used for either studies of field direction or paleointensity or in cases where silicate minerals have a preferential orientation. Phyllosilicate minerals and pyroxene should be screened for significant magnetic anisotropy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Biedermann, Andrea Regina


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Canadian Science Publishing




Andrea Regina Biedermann

Date Deposited:

05 Dec 2018 08:51

Last Modified:

22 Sep 2019 02:28

Publisher DOI:





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