Variation of magnetic directions within pillow basalts

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Relative directions of magnetization have been measured within individual pillow basalts collected from the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The angle between the magnetic directions was determined and is referred to as the directional difference. Although one pillow contained a directional difference of 44°, the remaining ten pillows had differences less than 14°. The maximum orientation and measurement error was 7°. Dispersion on the scale found in these fine-grained pillow basalts would not appreciably affect the magnetic anomaly pattern on the sea floor. We detected no reversals of magnetization despite the sometimes large and variable low-temperature oxidation. Comparison of directions within homogeneous segments of the pillow, viscous remanent magnetization (VRM) acquisition experiments, and alternating field (AF) demagnetization indicate a large portion of the dispersion was due to the acquisition of a viscous component in the larger grained, less oxidized portion of the pillows. Evidence from one variably weathered pillow suggests that extreme low-temperature oxidation may lead to the acquisition of a secondary component with high coercivities (20-80 mT). We could not determine whether this was a chemical remanent magnetization (CRM) or a VRM acquired by single domain grains near the superparamagnetic threshold. Hysteresis properties confirmed by microscopic examination indicated that the magnetic grain size in all the pillows was at least as small as pseudo-single domain. © 1984.

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Earth and Planetary Science Letters