Paleomagnetism and paleothermometry of the Sydney Basin 2. Origin of anomalously high unblocking temperatures

D. J. Dunlop*, Ö Özdemir, P. W. Schmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


The Milton Monzonite of southeastern Australia was thermoviscously remagnetized as a result of Cretaceous burial and uplift. Thermal demagnetization separates the low unblocking temperature (LT) overprint from the high unblocking temperature (HT) primary remanence, with a relatively sharp junction between LT and HT components in vector projections. For single-domain grains, the junction temperature TL between two such vectors corresponds to the maximum blocking temperature Tr reactivated in nature, apart from a correction for the difference between natural and laboratory timescales. However, measured TL values are distributed over an implausibly wide range (>250°C) for burial remagnetization of an untilted intrusion like the Milton Monzonite. Furthermore, many TL values are anomalously high compared to the predictions of single-domain theory. Multidomain grains are the cause of these anomalies. Samples pretreated before thermal demagnetization by zero-field cycling to liquid nitrogen temperature, so as to erase multidomain remanence and isolate single-domain remanence, do have the theoretically expected TL values. In these samples, realistic remagnetization time and temperature (tr, Tr) conditions in nature are predicted using the t-T contours of Pullaiah et al. [1975]. The anomalously high TL values before low-temperature treatment are due to multidomain grains, which carry ≥50% of the LT overprint. The LT thermal demagnetization curve in samples dominated by multidomain grains is quasi-exponential in shape with a high-temperature tail extending almost to the Curie point, as predicted by multidomain theory. These high LT unblocking temperatures, which are much greater than plausible remagnetization temperatures reached in nature, overlap and mask the lower part of the HT unblocking temperature spectrum, driving up TL values and leading to inflated estimates of Tr. Although multidomain remanence is a sufficient explanation of anomalously high unblocking temperatures of thermoviscous overprints in the Milton Monzonite, chemical overprinting may be a factor in other lithologies and tectonic settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27285-27295
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB12
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


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