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Journal Articles Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors Year : 2011

Are ceramics and bricks reliable absolute geomagnetic intensity carriers?


A detailed rock-magnetic and archeointensity study was carried out on materials baked by a western Mexican artisan following traditional techniques to produce faithful reproductions of archeological pieces of the Michoacan region (Western Mesoamerica). The field strength at the site (41.0 +/- 0.51 mu T) was measured with a fluxgate magnetometer and the temperature of the furnace during the baking process was monitored continually by means of a thermocouple placed in the middle of the baking cavity.;Rock-magnetic experiments performed on the raw material (clay and paste) and on in situ prepared baked ceramics and bricks included measurement of thermomagnetic curves (susceptibility and strong-field magnetization versus temperature), first-order reversal curves (FORC), anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) and anisotropy of thermoremanent magnetization (A-TRM). Magnetite and probably hematite are present in the samples as carriers of the remanence. Hysteresis ratios suggest that the samples fall in the pseudo-single-domain grain size region, which may indicate a mixture of multidomain and a significant amount of single-domain grains.;Ceramic pieces and brick fragments were subjected to the Thellier-Coe archeointensity method and to an alternative paleointensity experiment, with a TRIAXE magnetometer, in order to check whether they are faithful recorders of the local geomagnetic field strength.;Mean raw-intensity of sample M1 (pottery) overestimates a 7% the expected site intensity, while those corresponding to the brick samples (LQ1 and LQ2) underestimate it 15%. Brick sample LNQ shows a slightly lower intensity (7%), but agrees with the expected site intensity within the experimental uncertainty. The intensity retrieved from the volcanic fragment also included closely reproduces the expected intensity. After A-TRM and cooling-rate corrections, all mean raw values move closer to the expected intensity.;Measurement of temperatures at different parts inside the kiln (bottom and upper parts of both central and peripheral parts) revealed the existence of significant thermal gradients, similar to those observed in ovens from other localities. Different cooling rates are then expected in a single oven.;The scatter in the intensity determinations observed in this study, retrieved from pieces elaborated together in the same oven, could arise from this differentiated cooling rate within the oven and thus, to an inappropriate cooling rate correction in the archeointensity protocol. As this situation was probably reproduced in the baking of ancient ceramic artifacts, a better knowledge of the temperature distribution inside these types of kiln would be desirable in order to choose the appropriate cooling rate correction.

Dates and versions

hal-00644559 , version 1 (24-11-2011)



Juan Morales, Avto Goguitchaichvili, Bertha Aguilar-Reyes, Modesto Pineda-Duran, Pierre Camps, et al.. Are ceramics and bricks reliable absolute geomagnetic intensity carriers?. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 2011, 187 (3-4), pp.310-321. ⟨10.1016/j.pepi.2011.06.007⟩. ⟨hal-00644559⟩
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