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Egli R.,Central Institute of Meteorology and Geodynamics ZAMG | Zhao X.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

We present a general theory for the acquisition of natural remanent magnetizations (NRM) in sediment under the influence of (a) magnetic torques, (b) randomizing torques, and (c) torques resulting from interaction forces. Dynamic equilibrium between (a) and (b) in the water column and at the sediment-water interface generates a detrital remanent magnetization (DRM), while much stronger randomizing torques may be provided by bioturbation inside the mixed layer. These generate a so-called mixed remanent magnetization (MRM), which is stabilized by mechanical interaction forces. During the time required to cross the surface mixed layer, DRM is lost and MRM is acquired at a rate that depends on bioturbation intensity. Both processes are governed by a MRM lock-in function. The final NRM intensity is controlled mainly by a single parameter γ that is defined as the product of rotational diffusion and mixed-layer thickness, divided by sedimentation rate. This parameter defines three regimes: (1) slow mixing (γ < 0.2) leading to DRM preservation and insignificant MRM acquisition, (2) fast mixing (γ > 10) with MRM acquisition and full DRM randomization, and (3) intermediate mixing. Because the acquisition efficiency of DRM is larger than that of MRM, NRM intensity is particularly sensitive to γ in case of mixed regimes, generating variable NRM acquisition efficiencies. This model explains (1) lock-in delays that can be matched with empirical reconstructions from paleomagnetic records, (2) the existence of small lock-in depths that lead to DRM preservation, (3) specific NRM acquisition efficiencies of magnetofossil-rich sediments, and (4) some relative paleointensity artifacts. Key Points: A natural magnetization is acquired in the mixed layer of bioturbated sediment The acquisition efficiency depends on the intensity of mixing Relative paleointensity artifacts depend on variable acquisition efficiencies © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

Zhao X.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Egli R.,Central Institute of Meteorology and Geodynamics ZAMG | Gilder S.A.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Muller S.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Nature Communications

Sediments continuously record variations of the Earthâ €™ s magnetic field and thus provide an important archive for studying the geodynamo. The recording process occurs as magnetic grains partially align with the geomagnetic field during and after sediment deposition, generating a depositional remanent magnetization (DRM) or post-DRM (PDRM). (P)DRM acquisition mechanisms have been investigated for over 50 years, yet many aspects remain unclear. A key issue concerns the controversial role of bioturbation, that is, the mechanical disturbance of sediment by benthic organisms, during PDRM acquisition. A recent theory on bioturbation-driven PDRM appears to solve many inconsistencies between laboratory experiments and palaeomagnetic records, yet it lacks experimental proof. Here we fill this gap by documenting the important role of bioturbation-induced rotational diffusion for (P)DRM acquisition, including the control exerted on the recorded inclination and intensity, as determined by the equilibrium between aligning and perturbing torques acting on magnetic particles. Source

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