Magnetic Domain States and Critical Sizes in the Titanomagnetite Series

Brendan Cych, Greig A. Paterson, Lesleis Nagy, Wyn Williams, Bruce Moskowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The minerals carrying the magnetic remanence in geological samples are commonly a solid solution series of iron-titanium spinels known as titanomagnetites. Despite the range of possible compositions within this series, micromagnetic studies that characterize the magnetic domain structures present in these minerals have typically focused on magnetite. No studies systematically comparing the domain-states present in titanomagnetites have been undertaken since the discovery of the single vortex (SV) structure and the advent of modern micromagnetism. The magnetic properties of the titanomagnetite series are known to vary strongly with composition, which may influence the domain states present in these minerals, and therefore the magnetic stability of the samples bearing them. We present results from micromagnetic simulations of titanomagnetite ellipsoids of varying shape and composition to find the size ranges of the single domain (SD) and SV structures. These size ranges overlap, allowing for regions where the SD and SV structures are both available. These regions are of interest as they may lead to magnetic instability and “partial thermal remanent magnetization (pTRM) tails” in paleointensity experiments. We find that although this SD + SV zone occupies a narrow range of sizes for equidimensional magnetite, it is widest for intermediate (TM30-40) titanomagnetite compositions, and increases for both oblate and prolate particles, with some compositions and sizes having an SD + SV zone up to 100s of nm wide. Our results help to explain the prevalence of pTRM tail-like behavior in paleointensity experiments. They also highlight regions of particles with unusual domain states to target for further investigation into the definitive mechanism behind paleointensity failure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number e2024JB028805
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2024


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