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University of Minnesota

Institute for Rock Magnetism Home Page. College of Science and Engineering Department of Earth Sciences

The Institute for Rock Magnetism is in Reduced Operations Mode

Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, and following directives from the leadership of the University of Minnesota, the Institute for Rock Magnetism is currently under Reduced Operations until further notice. Only personnel approved by both the Department and the College may access the laboratories to conduct research under the Department's and the College's Health and Safety Guidelines. We are now allowing visitors from outside the University of Minnesota into University buildings, pending restrictions by the University. If you are interested in conducting research at the IRM, both in person or by us, please contact IRM personnel.

New IRM Quarterly issue

Practical Magnetism IV: feats and challenges in quantifying hematite with magnetic methods, by Dario Bilardello and Andrew P. Roberts.


Example of hematite-bearing Zebra rock from the Kimberley stone mine, Australia. Photo:

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a short article on describing the inherent difficulties of quantifying hematite content with magnetic proxies in hematite-bearing rocks, by Dario Bilardello and Andrew P. Roberts.  

Also in this issue:


New IRM Quarterly issue

Practical Magnetism III: What's What in Remanence Anisotropy, by Dario Bilardello.


ARM acquisition curves from Sugiura (1979) for six synthetic samples bearing particle concentrations of: 1, 2.64 x 10-6; 2, 1.89 x 10-5; 3, 1.46 x 10-4; 4, 7.19 x 10-4; 5, 4.25 x 10-3; 6, 2.33 x 10-2. Magnetic interactions thus increase from samples 1 through 6, resulting in increased linearity of magnetization versus field, and increasingly suppressed magnetizations.

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a short article on defining anisotropies of different remanent magnetizations, by Dario Bilardello.  

Also in this issue:


New IRM Quarterly issue

Practical Magnetism II: Humps and a Bump, the Maghemite Song, by Dario Bilardello.


Increase in susceptibility between ~150 and 350 °C for an Andesite specimen (a) and a Trachydacite (b) modified after Kontny and Grothaus (2017). T1 and T2 mark dercreases in susceptibility corresponding to the inversion of maghemite and magnetite's Curie temperature, respectively, while TV is magnetite's Verwey transition.

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a short article on the thermomagnetic behavior of partially oxidized magnetite core-shell structures, by Dario Bilardello.  

Also in this issue:


The 2020 Summer School for Rock Magnetism has been cancelled

As a consequence of the current pandemic we have been forced to cancel our Summer School progam. We apologize for any inconvenience.

17th Castle Meeting

New Trends on Paleo, Rock and Environmental Magnetism

The conference will be held 23 – 29 AUGUST 2020, TRAKOŠĆAN, CROATIA, Please follow this link to the conference website.


Registration for the conference and preceding short course is open!, Damir Fabijanić.

New IRM Quarterly issue

Foundations of Magnetic Anisotropy: A Brief Review, by Mike Jackson.


A thermoremanent anisotropy experiment described by William Gilbert in 1600. When a red-hot iron spike is allowed to cool while pointing from the south (Auster) to the north (Septentrio), it acquires a strong remanence. Cooling in the east-west orientation, with the long axis perpendicular to the ambient field, produces a much weaker TRM.

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a short historical perspective of the discovery of magnetic anisotropy by Mike Jackson.  

Also in this issue:


New IRM Quarterly issue

Practical Magnetism I: Discriminating SD and MD magnetite particle behavior through FC-ZFC remanence curves, by Dario Bilardello.


Field cooled and zero field cooled remanence on warming for the same sample of MV1 magnetotactic bacteria measured in 1999 and 2002. Note that the FC and ZFC curves have similar shapes in the fresh specimen, which become distinctly different upon oxidation. From Carter-Stiglitz et al. (2004).

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a practical article on the acquisition offField cooled and zero field cooled remanence curves by SD versus MD magnetite grains. Note : this version has been modified from that circulated through the mailing list to include observations presented by Smirnov (2009)  

Also in this issue:


Tinkering with the wheel: can the goethite test run more smoothly?, by Dario Bilardello.


Loess-paleosol sequence profile of Xihe basin at southern slope of West Qinlin. Photo, Highlights7/201206/t20120611_86989.html

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   modifying the goethite test, a rock-magnetic technique to separate the contributions of magnetite/maghemite, goethite and hematite  

Also in this issue:


Santa Fe Keynote Talks Posted

The Keynote Talks from the Eleventh Santa Fe Conference on Rock Magnetism are posted on the conference website

Please follow this link to view and download the keynote talks from Ron Walsworth (Harvard University, USA) on Quantum Diamond Sensors and Raimund Muscheler (Lund University, Sweden) on Separating solar and geomagnetic field influences on cosmogenic radionuclide records.

The new IRM Quarterly is out!

The 11th Santa Fe Conference on Rock Magnetism, by Dario Bilardello.


Bandelier National Monument. Photo: Myriam Kars.

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a report on the 11th Santa Fe Conference on Rock Magnetism. 

Also in this issue:


Santa Fe conference on Rock Magnetism

The Eleventh Santa Fe Conference on Rock Magnetism June 6-9, 2019

St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sponsored by the Institute for Rock Magnetism, with funding by NSF and generous donations from Lake Shore Cryotronics, Quantum Design, 2G Enterprises and Frontiers.

Iron minerals in the Earth's crust and sedimentary cover contain fossilized records of ancient geomagnetic field activity, and in their physical and chemical characteristics they hold evidence of geological processes and events that have affected them. This conference will explore the state of the art in magnetic studies of natural materials, examine methods for extracting paleomagnetic and paleoenvironmental information through magnetic analysis, and assess what such studies are telling us about the history and workings of our planet and its surroundings.

The Santa Fe Conference format is designed to be interactive and in-depth, allowing extended periods of open discussion following invited lead talks on selected topics. For this meeting, we have planned sessions focusing on: 1) the Highs and Lows of Short-term Geomagnetic Field Behavior; 2) Enviromagnetism and Biogeomagnetism; 3) Processing Procedures and Protocols: Pitfalls, Progress and Promise; and 4) Fundamental Rock Magnetism, Micromagnetic Modeling and Imaging. These will be complemented by two keynote sessions: 1) The influence of short-term (decadal to millennial) geomagnetic field variations on cosmogenic nuclide production; and 2) Advances in magnetic microscopy: mapping fields at the nanoscale, inverting for magnetization distribution, and integrating with other spatially-resolved characterization methods. Finally, we will have an optional full-day workshop on micromagnetic modeling on Sunday June 9, led by Wyn Williams (Edinburgh).

On-campus accommodation costs (room and meals) will be covered by a conference-support grant, and there will be no registration fee for the conference. Participation is open to students, post-docs and faculty researchers, and will be limited to a maximum total of fifty participants. Session descriptions, schedule and more information are posted on the Conference Web Site.

We are also planning an optional pre-conference field trip (Thursday June 6) with input from Mike Petronis (New Mexico Highlands University) and John Geissman (UT-Dallas) (details TBD). There will be a registration fee of $50 for the field trip, and for those who wish, Wednesday night accommodations at St John's (including 3 meals) will be available for approximately $90. There will also be a registration fee of $50 for the micromagnetic workshop, and Sunday night accommodations at St. John's will be available for approximately $90.

There will be a limited number of student travel grants ($300-$500) to be available thanks to anticipated funding from NSF.

Registration is full! Do to the high number of applicants we have decided to close the waitlist. We apologize to anyone who has been left out. Waitlisted applicants will be contacted on a first-arrived, first-served basis if spots become available.

For questions, including registration related questions, please contact IRM staff at ( or Dario Bilardello (


Facility Manager - Institute for Rock Magnetism, University of Minnesota

The Institute for Rock Magnetism is seeking a Facility Manager to begin in the Fall of 2019 or early 2020. Position responsibilities include:

More detailed information on the breakdown of essential functions of the position can be found on the job posting in the University's employment system.

Required qualifications: PhD in geology, geophysics or physics (exceptional candidates with MS degrees and significant experience will also be considered); expertise in fine-particle magnetism and magnetic characterization; collaborative aptitude.

Preferred qualifications: Managerial and organizational skills; proficiency with laboratory instruments, software, programming and data analysis.

To apply:

Please contact Bruce Moskowitz (, Josh Feinberg (, or Mike Jackson ( for questions.


Announcement from CORES

The National Academies is conducting a study on Catalyzing Opportunities for Research in the Earth Sciences (CORES) for the Division of Earth Sciences at the National Science Foundation and wants to hear from you!

The purpose of the CORES study is to (1) identify a concise set of high-priority scientific questions for the next decade, (2) assess infrastructure needed to address these questions, and (3) determine opportunities for greater collaboration with other NSF divisions and directorates, federal agencies, and domestic and international partners.

The CORES committee strongly feels that this study must be informed by vigorous community input from across the entire spectrum of Earth sciences. One of the ways we are soliciting input is through a questionnaire assessing your ideas about upcoming research priorities:

The CORES site provides more detailed information on the study charge, as well as a complete list of committee members. Please go to the website and contribute your comments regarding the top Earth science priorities for the next decade. Thank you!


The new IRM Quarterly is out!

Commonly used experimental parameters for acquisition of anhysteretic remanent magnetization (ARM) and its anisotropy (AARM): Results and recommendations from a rock magnetic community survey, by Andrea Biedermann, Dario Bilardello, Mike Jackson, Martin Chadima and Josh Feinberg.


Schematic of (partial) anysteretic remanent acquisition: alternating field (AF, blue line) and direct current (DC, red line) applied over a selected time interval.

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a report on the rock-magnetic community survey on anhysteretic remanent magnetization and its anisotropy. 

Also in this issue:


The 2018 Summer School in Rock Magnetism, by Dario Bilardello


Group photo overlooking the St. Croix River valley, during the Saturday field trip to Taylor's Falls at Interstate State Park. Photo by Mike Volk.

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a report on the past IRM Summer School in Rock Magnetism. 

Also in this issue:


2018 Summer School for Rock Magnetism

A Community Based Program for Training the Next Generation of Paleomagnetists

Magnetic geoscience research uses sensitive, nondestructive measurements on natural materials to illuminate geomagnetic field history, tectonic processes and environmental changes. Learn more about the fundamentals and applications at the fifth biennial Summer School in Rock Magnetism (SSRM), which will be held June 4-13th, 2018 at the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM) in Minneapolis, MN. The 10-day program is targeted at graduate students and advanced undergraduate students in rock magnetism, paleomagnetism, and associated fields. Students will receive intensive instruction in rock magnetic theory and laboratory techniques. A daily schedule of lectures, hands-on laboratory measurements, and data processing will introduce students to the fundamentals of rock magnetism and paleomagnetism and the practical aspects of collecting and interpreting data responsibly. Instructors for the summer school will be primarily IRM faculty and staff. We anticipate a special module on micromagnetic modeling taught by Wyn Williams, University of Edinburgh.

In addition to a $100 registration fee, participants will be responsible for the costs of housing, meals, and travel to and from Minneapolis. For students from outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, housing will be available in University of Minnesota dormitories (~$30-$50 per night), though the Summer School registration site.

A   limited number of scholarships ($200-$250) will be available to reimburse some of the costs for attending the summer program, thanks to funding from NSF-Geophysics and the GPE section of AGU. Participation will be li mited to 20 students, on a first-come first-served basis.

Registration for the Summer School is now open. Please follow this link to register. The registration deadline is April 30, 2018.

For more information please visit the 2018 Summer School in Rock Magnetism webpage. Information (Syllabus and Schedule) will be updated as they become available.


New IRM Quarterly out!

ICRM17: International Conference on Rock Magnetism 2017, by Mike Jackson and Lennart de Groot


Fort Hoofddijk laboratory, Photo: Ingeborg van Oorschot (

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   a report on the past ICRM17: International Conference on Rock Magnetism 2017, by Mike Jackson and Lennart de Groot. 

Also in this issue:


Update on the move to Tate Hall

Dear IRM users, fellows and aficionados,

As the solar eclipse was occurring on August 21st , the sun set permanently on our home in Shepherd Labs. The first phase of the move into Tate Hall was completed between August 21st and 23rd. All office and lab spaces have moved to their new locations and are now being set up. The sole hold out is the MPMS lab, which is scheduled to make the short trip on September 11th.

We are currently deep into the move's second phase: re-organizing the lab and setting up the instruments again. Everything is going as planned so far with no hiccups (knock on wood): plumbers and electricians are taking care of the necessary instrument hook-ups, vacuum pumps are running, while the kappabridges and Magnon are already functioning (though not yet online). The IRM database was not affected by the move and is still running, however, the internal IRM network is still not completely set up so "interactions" between the database and instruments are still off.

For the meantime, we remind you that the next Visiting Fellow application deadline is October 30th, and are looking forward to hosting the new batch of visitors in the new space, with spanking new offices, work stations and yes, a brand new shielded room!

You will still find the IRM on the second floor, but our new unified lab is located in room 240 of Tate Hall. The new mailing address for the IRM is:

Institute for Rock Magnetism
Department of Earth Sciences
University of Minnesota
150 John T. Tate Hall
116 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone numbers for the IRM faculty and staff have not changed.

Please bear with us as we complete the transition to Tate, including setting up the instruments, arranging spaces, updating the website and all of the other fine details. Looking forward to greeting you in the New Year, coffee is already brewing!


View of the front entrance to Tate Hall, from the University mall.


The state of the lab… view from the shielded room, across the open floor plan, to the backside of Tate onto Church Street. And yes, we have windows!


And one picture from Shepard Labs today: you may remember classical music playing in this office as you discussed rock-magnetism with Mike Jackson…


IRM Quarterly

Gustaf Ising's Early Work on Magnetic Fabrics

In the latest installment of the IRM Quarterly:   A historical article on AMS and inclination shallowing, by Ted Evans. 

Also in this issue:


IRM Quarterly Subscriptions!

Regretfully, we will no longer be able to distribute the IRM Quarterly in hard copy: please provide us with your current email address using this link  to receive the IRM Quarterly by email.

Please help us keep up to date with our readers' demographics: while this is by no means a requirement, feel free to let us know your affiliation and position!


Check out the Visiting the IRM page for information on visitor programs.


Special Issue for David Strangway

Call for submission of research papers in magnetism and electromagnetism to the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences for publication in a special issue of tribute to Dr. David Strangway who died December 13, 2016.

David Strangway was born in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada, in 1934 and raised in Angola by missionary parents. He graduated in Physics and Geology in 1956 from the University of Toronto where he completed his MSc and PhD in magnetics research by 1960. After Assistant Professorships at the University of Colorado and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1970 as the head of the geophysics branch and leader of the "Moon rocks" research program. In 1973 Strangway returned to Toronto as Head of the Geology Department, and was later appointed Provost (1980) and President (1983) of the University of Toronto. In 1985 he began a successful twelve years as President of the rapidly growing University of British Columbia. In 1998, Strangway moved to Ottawa for six years as President of the government's new Canada Foundation for Innovation where he was responsible for dispensing $2.7 billion to Canadian universities for scientific research. Returning to British Columbia, Strangway founded Quest University, which opened in 2007. Today, this innovative liberal arts college has about 700 students. During his lifetime, Strangway held numerous important appointments and won many prestigious awards for his achievements. Above all, Dr. David Strangway was always a Renaissance man with broad-ranging interests and a great scientific curiosity.

This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences seeks to publish geophysical papers that report on any aspect of terrestrial and planetary magnetic or electromagnetic research. For magnetics, any of the categories listed in the "Current Articles" section of this issue of the IRM Quarterly will be suitable. The journal accepts papers from any country in English or French.

  • Deadline for providing tentative paper title: June 30, 2017
  • Deadline for submission of papers: March 30, 2018
  • Review, revision, and final acceptance: November 30, 2018
  • Tentative publication date of the special issue: January 2019

Please contact the Editorial Office of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences ( or Editor Ali Polat ( to submit the tentative manuscript title.

Thank you very much for your consideration, and we hope to hear from you soon.

Guest Editors David Symons (, David Dunlop (, and John Geissman (


The International Conference on Rock Magnetism 2017

Magnetism of natural materials: origin and stability

July 10-14, 2017

Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Registration is Now Open!

Participation is open to students, post-docs, and faculty researchers, and will be limited to a maximum of 100 participants. For meeting information and links to registration, session descriptions, schedule and logistics please visit our meeting website.

The registration deadline is March 1, or when the maximum of 100 participants is reached.

A   limited number of travel grants will be available with priority for US Students and Post-Doc conference attendees. To apply, after you have registered, please fill in the Travel Support Application   questionnaire.

Priority for travel support will be given to conference participants who submit an abstract and present a poster or talk (which will be assigned by the Scientific Program Committee). To submit an abstract please follow this link: for consideration for travel support, abstracts must be received by March 31st.


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Institute for Rock Magnetism, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota, 150 John T. Tate Hall, 116 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455