Formation of Magnetic Single-Domain Magnetite in Ocean Ridge Basalts with Implications for Sea-Floor Magnetism

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Science  16 Jul 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5119, pp. 343-345
DOI: 10.1126/science.261.5119.343


Although magnetic data are the primary evidence for ocean floor spreading, the processes by which magnetic phases in ocean floor basalts are formed remain poorly constrained. Scanning transmission electron microscopic observations show that magnetic single-domain magnetite in sheeted dike basalts of Deep Sea Drilling Project hole 504B formed through oxidation-exsolution of ilmenite, exsolution of ulvöspinel lamellae, and recrystallization of end-member magnetite by interaction with convecting fluids. The data suggest that the sheeted dike basalts, with single-domain magnetite as an efficient and stable magnetic carrier, contribute significantly to sea-floor magnetism.