For 40 years magnetic anisotropy has provided successful geological interpretations of magnetic ellipsoid orientations; in contrast the interpretation of anisotropy magnitudes is far more convoluted. This is due to complexities at various levels within rocks, including different physical magnetic responses of different minerals, grain-scale magnetic anisotropy, the anisotropy of interacting ensembles, the mineralogical constitution of rocks and the processes and mechanisms that align minerals in nature. The chief factors determining the magnetic fabrics of tectonized rocks include: mineral-physics properties, crystal symmetry, mineral-abundances, tectonic symmetry and crystal orientation-distribution, strain or stress, kinematic history and certain tectono-metamorphic processes (e.g. diffusion, crystal plasticity, dynamic recrystallization, particulate flow, neomineralization). AMS ultimately provides an integrated record of some combination of these factors. Subfabrics due to distinct processes or events may be expressed in different mineral and/or grain-size fractions, and are superposed in the conventionally observed AMS. Their discrimination may be achieved by various laboratory techniques such as magnetization and torque measurements in weak and strong applied fields, anisotropy of ARM and IRM, gyroremanence, Rayleigh magnetization, chemical leaching. However, under limited circumstances, statistical approaches such as differential analysis, tensor standardization, symmetry of confidence regions for the principal axes may partly isolate different subfabric orientations.
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Fabric is a ubiquitous and significant feature of geological materials. The processes involved in the formation and deformation of rocks and sediments leave their mark on the orientations of the constituent mineral grains. Petrofabrics thus provide essential keys to understanding the history of geological materials. Magnetic anisotropy is directly related to petrofabric, and has become one of the most rapid, sensitive and widely used tools for its characterization. The relationship between magnetic fabric and petrofabric is complex and depends on various factors including the composition, concentration and grain size of mineral grains. Ongoing research in geological applications is paralleled by studies of the fundamental mineral magnetic phenomena involved.
The papers in this book represent the current state of investigations in magnetic anisotropy studies as a discipline that integrates geological interpretations, mineral fabric development, technical advances and rock-magnetic properties.