The University of Arizona

Magnetic remanence in the Murchison meteorite

G. Kletetschka, T. Kohout, P. J. Wasilewski


The Murchison meteorite is a carbonaceous chondrite containing a small amount of chondrules, various inclusions, and matrix with occasional porphyroblasts of olivine and/or pyroxene. It also contains amino acids that may have served as the necessary components for the origin of life. Magnetic analyses of Murchison identify an ultrasoft magnetic component due to superparamagnetism as a significant part of the magnetic remanence. The rest of the remanence may be due to electric discharge in the form of lightning bolts that may have formed the amino acids. The level of magnetic remanence does not support this possibility and points to a minimum ambient field of the remanence acquisition. We support our observation by showing that normalized mineral magnetic acquisition properties establish a calibration curve suitable for rough paleofield determination. When using this approach, 1-­2% of the natural remanence left in terrestrial rocks with TRM and/or CRM determines the geomagnetic field intensity irrespective of grain size or type of magnetic mineral (with the exception of hematite). The same method is applied to the Murchison meteorite where the measured meteorite remanence determines the paleofield minimum intensity of 200-2000 nT during and/or after the formation of the parent body.


Prometheus basin;Impact demagnetization;Large impact basins;Magnetic anomalies

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