Geophysical and environmental signals from magnetic biominerals

Magnetotactic bacteria biomineralise magnetic nanoparticles. They are ubiquitous in aquatic environments, so their inorganic remains (magnetofossils) should give rise to sedimentary palaeomagnetic signals. Ancient magnetofossil identifications were sparse until new techniques recently demonstrated their extensive geological occurrence.

This project proposes to determine: the mechanisms by which magnetofossils contribute to sedimentary palaeomagnetic signals; if magnetofossil occurrences provide information about the marine carbon cycle; and, if magnetofossil chemistry can constrain the depth of sedimentary palaeomagnetic signal acquisition. These are major outstanding questions in sedimentary palaeomagnetism.


  • Prof Dennis Bazylinski, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Prof Yongxin Pan, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences