Laser-Selective Demagnetization: A New Technique in Paleomagnetism and Rock Magnetism

Science  25 Nov 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4882, pp. 1152-1155
DOI: 10.1126/science.242.4882.1152


Laser-selective demagnetization (LSD) enables the determination of the magnetic moment associated with individual mineral grains in thin sections of rock. Small volumes can be demagnetize with laser pulses directed through the optics of a microscope, permitting resolution of remanence components in individual mineral grains. LSD of mafic granulite samples revealed two paleomagnetic directional components of opposite polarity: one resided in coarse magnetite, the other in ilmenohematite-hemoilmenite exsolution intergrowths and fine magnetite indusions in clinopyroxene. These directions are consistent with those inferred from bulk demagnetization techniques, but LSD permits direct identification of the remanence carriers. The ability to discriminate magnetization components in different generations of a single mineral and to define intergrain magnetic moment distributions are significant advantages of LSD.