Abstract

Recent work on magnetic properties of limestones has demonstrated that the mineral siderite can be very important in paleomagnetism, for two reasons. First, oxidation of siderite produces secondary (daughter) magnetic minerals (magnetite, maghemite, and hematite), either before, during, or after sampling. These daughter products can completely change the magnetic properties of limestone samples and if unrecognized may be one of the primary reasons why many paleomagnetic studies of limestones, especially Paleozoic limestones, are unsuccessful. Second, siderite in weakly magnetized rocks may indicate the potential for successful paleomagnetic results. Because the presence of siderite indicates that the primary magnetic carriers are still intact, appropriate demagnetization methods should yield successful results. We conclude that microenvironmental conditions in anoxic marine sediments may permit the formation of siderite from iron (II) produced during bacterial dissimilatory iron reduction.

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