Paleomagnetic measurements of Archean and Hadean zircons

Friday, 19 December 2014
Rory Danielle Cottrell1, John Anthony Tarduno1,2 and Richard K. Bono1, (1)University of Rochester, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Rochester, NY, United States, (2)University of Rochester, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Rochester, NY, United States
The long-term history of the geodynamo can provide important constraints on core and mantle evolution. The oldest paleointensity records on extant rocks suggest a relatively strong magnetic field at 3.45 Ga (Tarduno et al., 2010). Examining an even older magnetic field, however, must rely on igneous components (e.g. zircons hosting magnetic inclusions) now found in younger sedimentary rocks. Here we focus on methods developed to address the challenges posed by the paleointensity measurement of crystals having weak natural remanent magnetizations (NRMs). We use a small bore (6.3 mm) 2G SQUID magnetometer that currently has the highest 3-component moment resolution for measurements, and CO2 laser heating for demagnetization. Use of this 3-component system allows for the direct measurement of full vector natural remanent magnetizations and avoids the non-uniqueness inherent in scanning magnetometer approaches. To reduce sample blank size, we use 0.5 mm fused quartz sample holders. We find that some Archean to Hadean zircons of the Jack Hills (Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia) have NRMs of ca. 1-3 x 10-9 emu, within the resolution of the ultra-high moment resolution SQUID magnetometer. Thermal demagnetization data indicate most the magnetization unblocks between 550 and 580 °C, consistent with a magnetite carrier. Magnetic force microscopy suggests the presence of sub-micron single domain-like magnetic inclusions in the zircon. Thellier-Coe paleointensity data suggest the presence of a magnetic field at 3.55 Ga. We will discuss measurements and criteria to evaluate the presence/absence of an even older Paleoarchean and Hadean magnetic field, and opportunities provided by further increases in moment resolution provided by a new spin exchange relaxation-free magnetometer.