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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Field Response of Magnetic Vortices in Dusty Olivine From the Semarkona Chondrite


Recent paleomagnetic studies have constrained the strength and longevity of the magnetic field generated by the solar nebula, which has broad implications for the early evolution of the solar system. Paleomagnetic evidence was recorded by nanoscale iron inclusions in olivine crystals in the Semarkona LL 3.0 chondrite. These dusty olivines have been shown to be credible carriers of ancient magnetic remanence. The small scale of the iron inclusions presents several challenges for defining their fundamental magnetic properties. Here we present the first correlative study of the response of these magnetic structures under applied laboratory fields. Results show that the majority of particles are in a single-vortex state and exhibit stable magnetic behavior in applied fields up to 200 mT. Experimental observations using Lorentz microscopy and magnetic transmission X-ray microscopy are shown to compare well with the results of finite-element micromagnetic simulations derived from 3-D models of the particles obtained using electron tomography. This correlative approach may be used to characterize the fundamental magnetic behavior of many terrestrial and extraterrestrial paleomagnetic carriers in the single-vortex to multivortex size range, which represent the vast majority of stable magnetic carriers in rocks and meteorites.

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