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Detrital magnetization of laboratory-redeposited sediments

Abstract : We conducted several redeposition experiments in laboratory using natural and artificial sediments in order to investigate the role of grain size and lithology on sedimentary remanence acquisition. The role of grain size was investigated by using sorted sediment from natural turbidites. Taking advantage of the magnetic grain size distribution within turbidites, we compared redeposition experiments performed with coarse magnetic grains taken from the bottom layers of a turbidite with fine grains from the upper layers of the same turbidite. In order to document the magnetization acquired for increasing sediment concentrations that is analogous to increasing depth in the sediment column, the samples were frozen at temperatures between −5 and −10 • C. Magnetization acquisition behaved similarly in both situations, so that little smearing of the palaeomagnetic signal should be linked to grain size variability within this context. Other series of experiments were aimed at investigating the influence of lithology. We used clay or carbonated sediments that were combined with magnetic separates from basaltic rocks or with single-domain biogenic magnetite. The experiments revealed that the magne-tization responded differently with clay and carbonates. Clay rapidly inhibited alignment of magnetic grains at low concentrations and, therefore, significant magnetization lock-in occurred despite large water contents, perhaps even within the bioturbated layer. Extension of the process over a deeper interval contributes to smear the geomagnetic signal and therefore to alter the palaeomagnetic record. In carbonates, the magnetization was acquired within a narrow window of 45-50 per cent sediment concentration, therefore, little smearing of the ge-omagnetic signal can be expected. Finally, experiments on carbonate sediments and biogenic magnetite with increasing field intensities indicate that magnetization acquisition is linear with respect to field intensity. Altogether, the results suggest that sediments with dominant carbonate content should be favoured for records of geomagnetic field changes provided that the minor clay fraction does not vary excessively. They confirm the advantage of using cultures of magnetotactic bacteria for redeposition experiments.
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Jean-Pierre Valet, Cyrielle Tanty, Julie Carlut. Detrital magnetization of laboratory-redeposited sediments. Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2017, 210 (1), pp.34-41. ⟨10.1093/gji/ggx139⟩. ⟨insu-02178852⟩

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