Paleomagnetic studies on single crystals separated from the middle Cretaceous Iritono granite

Chie Kato, Masahiko Sato, Yuhji Yamamoto, Hideo Tsunakawa, Joseph L. Kirschvink

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Investigations of superchrons are the key to understanding long-term changes of the geodynamo and the mantle’s controlling role. Granitic rocks could be good recorders of deep-time geomagnetic field behavior, but paleomagnetic measurements on whole-rock granitic samples are often disturbed by alterations like weathering, and the presence of multi-domain magnetite. To avoid such difficulties and test the usefulness of single silicate crystal paleomagnetism, here we report rock-magnetic and paleomagnetic properties of single crystals and compare those to the host granitic rock. We studied individual zircon, quartz and plagioclase crystals separated from the middle Cretaceous Iritono granite, for which past studies have provided tight constraints on the paleomagnetism and paleointensity. The occurrence of magnetite was very low in zircon and quartz. On the other hand, the plagioclase crystals contained substantial amounts of fine-grained single-domain to pseudo-single-domain magnetite. Microscopic features and distinctive magnetic behavior of plagioclase crystals indicate that the magnetite inclusions were generated by exsolution. We therefore performed paleointensity experiments by the Tsunakawa–Shaw method on 17 plagioclase crystals. Nine samples passed the standard selection criteria for reliable paleointensity determinations, and the mean value obtained was consistent with the previously reported whole-rock paleointensity value. The virtual dipole moment was estimated to be higher than 8.9 ± 1.8 × 1022 Am2, suggesting that the time-averaged field strength during middle of the Cretaceous normal superchron was several times as large as compared to that of non-superchron periods. Single plagioclase crystals which have exsolved magnetite inclusions can be more suitable for identification of magnetic signals and interpretation of paleomagnetic records than the conventional whole-rock samples or other silicate grains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number176
Journalearth, planets and space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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