From Disorder to Order: Inheritance of Magnetic Remanence in Tetrataenite-Bearing Meteorites From Multi-Phase Micromagnetic Modeling

José A. P. M. Devienne, Thomas A. Berndt, Wyn Williams, Shichu Chen

JGR Planets, First published: 14 June 2024


  • Single-domain states formed in taenite precursor are preserved through tetrataenite chemical ordering
  • Inheritance of remanence in fast-cooled Iron meteorites impacts both the timing and intensity of the recorded paleomagnetic field
  • Time-resolved records in slowly cooled Iron meteorites are possible through different recording mechanisms in different grain sizes”

“An increasing amount of evidence suggests that the tetrataenite-bearing cloudy zones (CZ) in iron and stony-iron meteorites can preserve magnetic records of ancient magnetic activity of their parent bodies over solar system timescales. Tetrataenite islands in the CZ are nanometer-sized (<200 nm) crystals that usually form through ordering from precursor taenite islands upon extremely slow cooling through 320°C. Recent micromagnetic models have shown that such precursor taenite islands form highly thermally stable single-domain (SD) or single-vortex states (SV). In this work we employ a 3D finite element multi-phase micromagnetic modeling to show that tetrataenite inherits the magnetic remanence of taenite precursor when it forms over underlying SD states. When taenite forms SV states, however, tetrataenite resets the precursor magnetization and records a new remanence through chemical ordering at 320°C. We further assess the thermal stability of tetrataenite islands. We show that in cases where tetrataenite inherits the domain states of its precursor taenite, the origin of the remanence can be up to ∼105 years older than previously thought in fast-cooled meteorites, and ∼1–≳6 Myr in slowly cooled meteorites. It indicates, therefore, that different regions across slowly cooled CZ record distinct stages of planetary formation.”