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Authors: Sagnotti, L.* 
Cascella, A.* 
Ciaranfi, N.* 
Macrì, P.* 
Maiorano, P.* 
Marino, M.* 
Taddeucci, J.* 
Title: Rock magnetism and palaeomagnetism of the Montalbano Jonico section (Italy): evidence for late diagenetic growth of greigite and implications for magnetostratigraphy
Issue Date: Dec-2009
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04480.x
Keywords: Remagnetization
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.06. Paleomagnetism 
04. Solid Earth::04.05. Geomagnetism::04.05.07. Rock magnetism 
Abstract: The Montalbano Jonico (MJ) section, cropping out in Southern Italy, represents a potential candidate to define the Lower/Middle Pleistocene boundary and it has been proposed as a suitable Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the Ionian Stage (Middle Pleistocene). The MJ section is the only continuous benthic and planktonic δ18O on-land reference in the Mediterranean area for the Mid-Pleistocene transition, spanning an interval between about 1240 and 645 ka. Combined biostratigraphy and sapropel chronology, tephra stratigraphy and complete high-resolution benthic and planktonic foraminiferal stable oxygen isotope records already provide a firm chronostratigraphic framework for the MJ section. However, magnetostratigraphy was still required to precisely locate the Brunhes-Matuyama transition and to mark the GSSP for the Ionian stage. We carried out a palaeomagnetic study of a subsection (Ideale section) of the MJ composite section, sampling 61 oriented cores from 56 stratigraphic levels spread over a ca. 80-m-thick stratigraphic interval that correlates to the oxygen isotopic stage 19 and should therefore include the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. The palaeomagnetic data indicate a stable and almost single-component natural remanent magnetization (NRM). A characteristic remanent magnetization (ChRM) was clearly identified by stepwise demagnetization of the NRM. The ChRM declination values vary around 0◦ and the ChRM inclination around the expected value (59◦) for a geocentric axial dipole field at the sampling locality. This result indicates that the section has been remagnetized during the Brunhes Chron. A preliminary study of 27 additional not azimuthally oriented hand samples, collected at various levels from other parts of the MJ composite section, indicates that all the samples are of normal polarity and demonstrates that the remagnetization is widespread across the whole exposed stratigraphic sequence. A series of specific rock magnetic techniques were then applied to investigate the nature of the main magnetic carrier in the study sediments, and they suggest that the main magnetic mineral in the MJ section is the iron sulphide greigite (Fe3S4). Scanning electron microscope observations and elemental microanalysis reveal that greigite occurs both as individual euhedral crystals and in iron sulphides aggregates filling voids in the clay matrix. Therefore, we infer that the remagnetization of the section is due to the late-diagenetic growth of greigite under reducing conditions, most likely resulting in the almost complete dissolution of the original magnetic minerals. Iron sulphide formation in the MJ section can be linked to migration of mineralized fluids. Our inferred timing of the remagnetization associated with greigite growth represents the longest remanence acquisition delay documented in greigite-bearing clays of the Italian peninsula so far.
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