Carboniferous Limestones in the Craven Basin of northern England carry a stable natural remanent magnetization (NRM) the intensity of which is facies dependent. Dark argillaceous limestones are most strongly magnetized and pure, pale coloured limestones most weakly magnetized. Partial thermal and alternating field demagnetization suggest that magnetite is the principal carrier of the remanence although some haematite is present in the limestone. The presence of magnetite is confirmed by the low temperature transition, isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM build-up curves) and microprobe analysis.
Partial demagnetization of IRM and ARM suggest that the magnetite is relatively coarse grained and in the multidomain state. There are no indications of pseudo-single domain behaviour but magnetite of this type cannot be excluded as a possible remanence carrier. A grain size estimate of 10–20 μm based on coercive force and remanent coercive force is compatible with the theoretical consideration of grain size.
The limestones show a weak but marked magnetic susceptibility anisotropy. This anisotropy defines a depositional fabric which indicates that the magnetization is a depositional remanent magnetization (DRM). A DRM was acquired by each specimen before compaction and cementation and was preserved because of the reducing conditions which prevailed in the early diagenetic environments of the limestones.