The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Wasp-waisted hysteresis loops: Mineral magnetic characteristics and discrimination of components in mixed magnetic systems

Roberts, Andrew P., Cui, Yulong and Verosub, Kenneth L. (1995) Wasp-waisted hysteresis loops: Mineral magnetic characteristics and discrimination of components in mixed magnetic systems Journal of Geophysical Research, 100, (B9), pp. 17909-17924.

Record type: Article


Rock magnetic studies of complex systems that contain mixtures of magnetic minerals or mixed grain size distributions have demonstrated the need for a better method of distinguishing between different magnetic components in geological materials. Hysteresis loops that are constricted in the middle section, but are wider above and below the middle section, are commonly observed in mixed magnetic assemblages. Such “wasp-waisted” hysteresis loops have been widely documented, particularly with respect to rare earth permanent magnets, basaltic lava flows, remagnetized Paleozoic carbonate rocks, and an increasingly wide range of other rocks. Our modelling, combined with a review of previous work, indicates that there are several conditions that give rise to, as well as magnetic properties that are characteristic of, wasp-waisted hysteresis loops. First, at least two magnetic components with strongly contrasting coercivities must coexist. This condition can arise from either mixtures of grain sizes of a single magnetic mineral, or a combination of magnetic minerals with contrasting cocrcivities, or a combination of these two situations. Second, materials that give rise to wasp-waisted hysteresis loops will have relatively high ratios of the coercivity of remanence to coercive force (B cr /B c ) because B0 is controlled by the soft (low coercivity) component, whereas Bcris controlled by the hard (high coercivity) component. Third, values of B cr /B c ? 10 usually only occur for strongly wasp-waisted loops when the low coercivity component comprises an overwhelmingly large fraction of the total volume of magnetic grains. Fourth, a given mixture of superparamagnetic and single-domain (SD) grains is more likely to give rise to wasp-waisted hysteresis loops than an equivalent mixture of SD and multidomain grains. Fifth, our results provide empirical confirmation that the total magnetization of a material is the sum of the weighted contributions of each component, in the absence of significant magnetic interaction between particles. Thus to contribute significantly to wasp-waisted behavior, a mineral magnetic component must give rise to a significant portion of the total magnetization of the rock. As a result, minerals with weak magnetic moments such as hematite need to occur in large concentrations to cause wasp-waistedness in materials that also contain ferrimagnetic minerals. We outline a method for determining the magnetic components that can give rise to wasp-waisted hysteresis loops. This method is based on high- and low-temperature magnetic measurements that are used to identify the dominant remanence-bearing mineral/s and on mineral magnetic techniques that are used to discriminate between different magnetic domain states. The method is illustrated with several examples from archaeological, geological, and synthetic materials.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 1995


Local EPrints ID: 66130
ISSN: 0148-0227
PURE UUID: 4e598244-e74d-432d-9978-22cc9a66d3bb

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 May 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:27

Export record


Author: Andrew P. Roberts
Author: Yulong Cui
Author: Kenneth L. Verosub

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.