Drilling‐induced remanent magnetization in basalt drill cores

Haraldur Audunsson*, Shaul Levi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Drilling‐induced remanent magnetization (DIRM) in drill cores can limit their use for magnetostratigraphic studies and preclude the use of secondary viscous remanence for their azimuthal orientation. DIRM was studied in a drill core of a thick Miocene basalt flow now buried at 0.45 km. Due to zonation of the magnetic properties within the flow, DIRM was observed in specimens whose remanence is controlled by grains ranging from multidomain (MD) to single domain (SD). DIRM in this drill core has the following properties: (1) it is characterized by high intensity and low stability; (2) the DIRM intensity increases by at least a factor of 5 from the centre of the drill core to the drill string's cutting surface, where it appears to have been produced; (3) it is directed down and radially inward towards the centre of the drill core; and (4) it is relatively more dominant and more intense in magnetically less stable MD grains. The observed DIRM can be modelled as a pure IRM acquired in a field of the order of 10 mT. Therefore, the DIRM in this drill core is most easily explained as having been produced during the initial drilling by a strong non‐uniform field concentrated near the cutting rim of the drill string. Other processes which might contribute to DIRM production include tearing of grains and possible changes in strain, mechanical shocks and piezo remanent magnetization (PRM). In this drill core, DIRM in the magnetically less stable grains was more effectively cleaned by alternating fields (AF) than by thermal demagnetization, and judicious AF demagnetization was usually successful at defining the primary remanence, especially for specimens from the centre of the drill core, which are less affected by DIRM overprinting. The use of a non‐magnetic drill string would further reduce, and might possibly eliminate, DIRM production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-622
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1989

Other keywords

  • DIRM, drill core
  • IRM
  • PRM
  • secondary magnetization


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