Lamellar magnetism and exchange bias in billion-year-old titanohematite with nanoscale ilmenite exsolution lamellae: I. Mineral and magnetic characterization

Suzanne A. McEnroe*, Peter Robinson, Nobuyoshi Miyajima, Karl Fabian, Darby Dyar, Elizabeth Sklute

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Recent high-resolution aeromagnetic surveys in South Norway have revealed numerous remanent anomalies over Mesoproterozoic metamorphic rocks. Studies on the nature of the minerals that are the remanent carriers has led to discoveries of titanohematite samples with unusual magnetic properties caused by nanoscale exsolution lamellae with their related lamellar magnetism. Here we focus on a rock unit dominated by quartz-plagioclase-biotite granulite containing titanohematite grains with a strong lattice-preferred orientation parallel to regional foliation. When samples with their natural remanent magnetization (NRM), acquired nearly 1 billion years ago, are cooled to 10 K and hysteresis loops measured, these loops show bi-modal exchange bias caused by the magnetism induced within the ilmenite by antiferromagnetic coupling with the adjacent lamellar NRM. By contrast when the samples are cooled in a strong magnetic field (1.5 Tesla), this results in unimodal lamellar magnetism, and, below the TN of ilmenite it adopts a consistent negative orientation, giving rise to unimodal negative exchange bias of >500 mT. The results presented here cover the chemical and magnetic properties, Mossbauer results and transmission electron microscopy of the titanohematite and ilmenite lamellae. Initial magnetic experiments indicated the shifts found in the exchangebias experiments were directly related to the orientation of the sample to the applied field and the initial state of the NRM. In most samples with these unusual magnetic properties, ilmenite lamellae could not be seen in an optical or a scanning electron microscope. However magnetic experiments gave proof of the presence of ilmenite, later confirmed by Mössbauer spectroscopy. Several attempts were made to identify ilmenite in TEM studies, finally successful in showing ilmenite lamellae parallel to (001) of hematite with thicknesses ~1.2 to 1.7 nmand aspect ratios 7-13. Here we compare new TEM images and the magnetic behaviour of these samples to the MOD2 samples that previously showed extraordinary exchange bias properties, and investigate further the nature of these magnetic minerals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-486
Number of pages17
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetic mineralogy and petrology
  • Rock and mineral magnetism


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