High temperature stability of natural maghemite: a magnetic and spectroscopic study

  • Autor: Gehring, A.U. / Fischer, H. / Louvel, M. / Kunze, K. / Weidler, P.G. (2009)

  • Quelle:

     Geopys. J. Int. 179 (2009), 3, 1361-1371

  • Datum: 2009
  • Gehring, A.U. / Fischer, H. / Louvel, M. / Kunze, K. / Weidler, P.G. (2009): „High temperature stability of natural maghemite: a magnetic and spectroscopic study“. In:  Geopys. J. Int. 179 (2009), 3, 1361-1371


A combined magneto-mineralogical approach is used to diagnose maghemitization in magnetic grains of basaltic rock fragments from sand dunes in the Namibian desert in SW Africa. Data were obtained from static magnetic analysis, ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) spectroscopy, micro-Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy.

Micro-Raman spectroscopy showed that the magnetic grains in the lithic fragments form oxidative solid solution series with magnetite and maghemite as end-members. The five active Raman modes at 712, 665, 507, 380 and 344 cm−1 indicate that maghemite in the magnetic grains has well-defined structural properties.

The FMR spectral analysis provides evidence for long-range dipolar coupling, which suggests intergrowth of the magnetic phases of the oxidative solid solution series. Thermomagnetic experiments and hysteresis measurements reveal a Curie temperature of about 890 K for this maghemite. Upon heating to 970 K part of the maghemite is altered to thermodynamically more stable hematite.

After selective thermal decomposition of the maghemite in a protected atmosphere, the remaining magnetic phase has a Curie temperature of 850 K, characteristic for magnetite. The unique thermal stability of this natural maghemite above its Curie temperature is explained by the well-defined mineral structure, which formed during slow oxidative alteration of magnetite under arid climate conditions.


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