Crustal Magnetization and Magnetic Petrology in Basalts – What Can We Learn from Scientific Drillings?

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 9:15 AM
Agnes M Kontny, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
Rock magnetic and magneto-mineralogical data from scientific drillings contribute to our understanding of the growth history and tectonic evolution of volcanic structures and allows for an improved interpretation of magnetic anomaly data. Such data are not only important for the magnetic structure of volcanic buildings and spreading ridges on Earth but may also provide basic data for the interpretation of extraterrestrial magnetic anomalies like on Mars.

Crustal magnetization of basalts is well studied since decades and in general, the amplitude of magnetic anomalies is mainly related to the induced and remanent magnetization. Direct measurements of the magnetic field and measurements of magnetic properties of oceanic and continental crust have indicated that the crustal magnetization is very complex and depends on different factors like e.g. magma composition, cooling rate, age and hydrothermal alteration. Generally a high oxygen fugacity (above the NNO buffer) and a low Ti/(Ti+Fe) ratio of the basaltic melt are suggested as a precondition for high concentration of magnetic minerals and therefore high primary TRM. High temperature subsolidus reactions and hydrothermal alteration as e.g. observed in the strongly magnetic basalts from the Stardalur drill core, Iceland, seems to increase NRM intensity and magnetic susceptibility due to creation of small, secondary magnetite (Vahle et al. 2007). Probably the increase occurred after the extinction of the hydrothermal system because active high-temperature (>150 °C) geothermal areas like the Krafla caldera, NE-Iceland, often show distinct magnetic lows in aeromagnetic anomaly maps suggesting a destruction of magnetic minerals by hydrothermal activity (Oliva-Urcia et al. 2011). The destruction explains the significant magnetization loss, which is seen in many local magnetic anomaly lows within the oceanic crust and volcanic islands like Iceland or Hawaii.

Borehole and core magnetic susceptibility measurements in combination with rock magnetic and magnetic mineralogy studies will be shown from scientific drillings from Hawaii and Iceland, which illustrate how vertical core sections can be used to deduce these processes.


Oliva-Urcia et al. (2011) Geophys J. Intern. 186, 1, 155-174.

Vahle et al. (2007) Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 164, 119-141.