Magnetic anisotropy in natural amphibole crystals

Biedermann, Andrea R.; Bender Koch, C.; Pettke, Thomas; Hirt, A. M. (2015). Magnetic anisotropy in natural amphibole crystals. American mineralogist, 100(8-9), pp. 1940-1951. Mineralogical Society of America 10.2138/am-2015-5173

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Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) is often used as a proxy for mineral fabric in deformed rocks. To do so quantitatively, it is necessary to quantify the intrinsic magnetic anisotropy of single crystals of rock-forming minerals. Amphiboles are common in mafic igneous and metamorphic rocks and often define rock texture due to their general prismatic crystal habits. Amphiboles may dominate the magnetic anisotropy in intermediate to felsic igneous rocks and in some metamorphic rock types, because they have a high Fe concentration and they can develop a strong crystallographic preferred orientation. In this study, the AMS is characterized in 28 single crystals and I crystal aggregate of compositionally diverse clino- and ortho-amphiboles. High-field methods were used to isolate the paramagnetic component of the anisotropy, which is unaffected by ferromagnetic inclusions that often occur in amphibole crystals. Laue imaging, laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, and Mossbauer spectroscopy were performed to relate the magnetic anisotropy to crystal structure and Fe concentration. The minimum susceptibility is parallel to the crystallographic a*-axis and the maximum susceptibility is generally parallel to the crystallographic b-axis in tremolite, actinolite, and hornblende. Gedrite has its minimum susceptibility along the a-axis, and maximum susceptibility aligned with c. In richterite, however, the intermediate susceptibility is parallel to the b-axis and the minimum and maximum susceptibility directions are distributed in the a-c plane. The degree of anisotropy, k', increases generally with Fe concentration, following a linear trend: k' = 1.61 x 10(-9) Fe - 1.17 x 10(-9) m(3)/kg. Additionally, it may depend on the Fe2+/Fe3+ ratio. For most samples, the degree of anisotropy increases by a factor of approximately 8 upon cooling from room temperature to 77 K. Fen-oactinolite, one pargasite crystal and riebeckite show a larger increase, which is related to the onset of local ferromagnetic (s.l.) interactions below about 100 K. This comprehensive data set increases our understanding of the magnetic structure of amphiboles, and it is central to interpreting magnetic fabrics of rocks whose AMS is controlled by amphibole minerals.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Rock-Water Interaction

UniBE Contributor:

Biedermann, Andrea Regina, Pettke, Thomas


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Mineralogical Society of America




Thomas Pettke

Date Deposited:

03 Dec 2015 11:31

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:50

Publisher DOI:



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