Classification of a Complexly Mixed Magnetic Mineral Assemblage in Pacific Ocean Surface Sediment by Electron Microscopy and Supervised Magnetic Unmixing

Jinhua Li*, Yan Liu, Shuangchi Liu, Andrew Philip Roberts, Hongmiao Pan, Tian Xiao, Yongxin Pan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Unambiguous magnetic mineral identification in sediments is a prerequisite for reconstructing paleomagnetic and paleoenvironmental information from environmental magnetic parameters. We studied a deep-sea surface sediment sample from the Clarion Fracture Zone region, central Pacific Ocean, by combining magnetic measurements and scanning and transmission electron microscopic analyses. Eight titanomagnetite and magnetite particle types are recognized based on comprehensive documentation of crystal morphology, size, spatial arrangements, and compositions, which are indicative of their corresponding origins. Type-1 particles are detrital titanomagnetites with micron- and submicron sizes and irregular and angular shapes. Type-2 and -3 particles are well-defined octahedral titanomagnetites with submicron and nanometer sizes, respectively, which are likely related to local hydrothermal and volcanic activity. Type-4 particles are nanometer-sized titanomagnetites hosted within silicates, while type-5 particles are typical dendrite-like titanomagnetites that likely resulted from exsolution within host silicates. Type-6 particles are single domain magnetite magnetofossils related to local magnetotactic bacterial activity. Type-7 particles are superparamagnetic magnetite aggregates, while Type-8 particles are defect-rich single crystals composed of many small regions. Electron microscopy and supervised magnetic unmixing reveal that type-1 to -5 titanomagnetite and magnetite particles are the dominant magnetic minerals. In contrast, the magnetic contribution of magnetite magnetofossils appears to be small. Our work demonstrates that incorporating electron microscopic data removes much of the ambiguity associated with magnetic mineralogical interpretations in traditional rock magnetic measurements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number609058
    JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
    Volume8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2020

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