Magnetic anisotropy, magnetostatic interactions and identification of magnetofossils

Authors

  • Jinhua Li,

    1. Paleomagnetism and Geochronology Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Earth's Deep Interior, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
    2. France-China Biomineralization and Nano-structure Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
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  • Wenfang Wu,

    1. Paleomagnetism and Geochronology Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Earth's Deep Interior, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
    2. France-China Biomineralization and Nano-structure Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
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  • Qingsong Liu,

    1. Paleomagnetism and Geochronology Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Earth's Deep Interior, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
    2. France-China Biomineralization and Nano-structure Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
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  • Yongxin Pan

    1. Paleomagnetism and Geochronology Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Earth's Deep Interior, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
    2. France-China Biomineralization and Nano-structure Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
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Abstract

[1] Single-domain magnetite particles produced by magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) and aligned in chains, called magnetosomes, are potentially important recorders of paleomagnetic, paleoenvironmental and paleolife signals. Rock magnetic properties related to the anisotropy of magnetosome chains have been widely used to identify fossilized magnetosomes (magnetofossils) preserved in geological materials. However, ambiguities exist when linking magnetic properties to the chain structure because of the complexity of chain integrity and magnetostatic interactions among magnetofossils that results from chain collapse during post-depositional diagenesis. In this paper, magnetic properties of three sets of samples containing extracted magnetosomes of the culturedMagnetospirillum magneticumstrain AMB-1 were analyzed to determine how chain integrity and particle concentration influence magnetic properties. Intact MTB and well-dispersed magnetosome chains are characterized by strong magnetic anisotropy and weak magnetostatic interactions, but progressive chain breakup and particle clumping significantly increase the degree of magnetostatic interaction. This results in a change of the magnetic signature toward properties typical of interacting, single-domain particles, i.e., a decrease of the ratio of anhysteretic remanent magnetization to the saturation isothermal remanent magnetization, decreasing in the crossing point of the Wohlfarth-Cisowski test and in the delta ratio between losses of field and zero-field cooled remanent magnetization across the Verwey transition, as well as vertical broadening of the first-order reversal curve distribution. We propose a new diagram that summarizes the Verwey transition properties, with diagnostic limits for intact and collapsed chains of magnetosomes. This diagram can be used, in conjunction with other parameters, to identify unoxidized magnetofossils in sediments and rocks.

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