The oldest magnetic record in our Solar System identified using nanometric imaging and numerical modeling

Jay Shah, Wyn Williams, Trevor P. Almeida, Leslies Nagy, Adrian R. Muxworthy, Andras Kovacs, Miguel A. Valdez-Grijalva, Karl Fabian, Sara S. Russell, Matthew J. Genge, Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recordings of magnetic fields, thought to be crucial to our solar system’s rapid accretion, are potentially retained in unaltered nanometric low-Ni kamacite (~ metallic Fe) grains encased within dusty olivine crystals, found in the chondrules of unequilibrated chondrites. However, most of these kamacite grains are magnetically non-uniform, so their ability to retain four-billion-year-old magnetic recordings cannot be estimated by previous theories, which assume only uniform magnetization. Here, we demonstrate that non-uniformly magnetized nanometric kamacite grains are stable over solar system timescales and likely the primary carrier of remanence in dusty olivine. By performing in-situ temperature-dependent nanometric magnetic measurements using off-axis electron holography, we demonstrate the thermal stability of multi-vortex kamacite grains from the chondritic Bishunpur meteorite. Combined with numerical micromagnetic modeling, we determine the stability of the magnetization of these grains. Our study shows that dusty olivine kamacite grains are capable of retaining magnetic recordings from the accreting solar system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1173
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2018


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