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Publication Type:

Journal Article


GeophysicsGeophysics, Volume 82, Number 5, p.B165-B176 (2017)




electromagnetics, interpretation, magnetization, rock physics, time domain


The magnetic viscosity (MV) effects observed at time scales between 0.01 and 10 ms at Opemiska are associated with magnetic grains of variable size in rocks. Recent observations made during a ground time-domain electromagnetic (TDEM) survey at Opemiska are consistent with four aspects of the spatial and amplitude characteristics of a MV response: (1) the ∂Bz/∂t∂Bz/∂t decay rate is roughly proportional to 1/t1+α1/t1+α, where −0.4<α<0.4−0.4<α<0.4, (2) the anomalies are mainly visible on the zz-component, when the EM receiver sensor is located inside or just outside the transmitter loop, (3) there is no obvious xx- or yy-component response, and (4) the sites where MV effects are seen in the TDEM data are coincident with an airborne magnetic anomaly. Previous studies have demonstrated that MV could be caused by (1) fine-grained particles of maghemite or magnetite in the overburden, regolith, or soil that were formed through lateritic weathering processes, (2) volcanic glass shards from tuff containing approximately 1% by weight magnetite, which occur as grains approximately 0.002–0.01μm0.002–0.01μm in size precipitated in a spatially uniform way, or (3) from the Gallionella bacterium that precipitates ferrihydrite that oxidizes to nanocrystalline maghemite aggregates. The sites investigated at Opemiska are outcropping and well-exposed with relatively little or no overburden, and they are unfavorable for the formation of maghemite; hence, it is assumed that the source of MV seen at Opemiska cannot be the maghemite, or the other aforementioned causes. Hand samples were collected from Opemiska to identify the minerals present. Polished thin sections observed under an optical reflecting microscope identified the accessory minerals magnetite, ilmenite, and pyrrhotite, all known for their relatively high magnetic susceptibility. The use of the scanning electron microscope confirmed fine-grained magnetite grains as small as 0.667μm0.667μm. An electromagnetic induction spectrometer confirmed the viscous nature of the susceptibility of the Opemiska samples. This suggests that MV could originate not only from fine-grained magnetite and maghemite particles located in the weathered regolith but also from other iron oxides and magnetic minerals embedded in the rock itself.