Date of Award

Fall 2015

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Joel E Johnson

Second Advisor

Julia G Bryce

Third Advisor

William C Clyde


Magnetic susceptibility is a bulk measure that reveals variation in ferromagnetic mineral content. High-resolution measurement of magnetic susceptibility in ocean drilling records reveals variability that can be attributed to primary depositional processes and/or secondary diagenetic processes that occur after deposition. Each chapter of my dissertation investigates magnetic susceptibility records along with geochemical, mineralogical, and rock magnetic techniques in methane-bearing marine sediments along the Indian, Cascadia, and Japanese margins. The overall goal of this work is to improve the understanding of the effects of detrital and biogeochemical processes on magnetic mineralogy, and thus magnetic susceptibility, in these continental margin marine environments.

In the first study (Chapter 1; Phillips et al., 2014), using a multi-proxy approach, I investigated variation in productivity and weathering over the last 110,000 years in the northern Indian Ocean within the core Indian monsoon rainfall zone. These results reveal an increase in productivity due to reduced stratification and a decrease in weathering during the last glacial period due to a weakened summer monsoon. This work reveals a relationship between Zr/Rb and magnetic susceptibility that can be utilized to predict primary detrital magnetic susceptibility.

In the second study, I used an elemental analysis and rock magnetic approach to decouple detrital and diagenetic patterns in magnetic susceptibility at three sites along the Cascadia accretionary wedge. Each site reveals intervals of diagenetic loss in magnetic susceptibility that is balanced by an increase in sulfur due to dissolution of magnetite and precipitation of pyrite. The diagenetic loss of magnetic susceptibility is influenced by organic matter availability as well as upward methane flux.

In the third study, I used a rock magnetic approach to investigate the magnetic mineralogy in a deep sediment record down to ~2.5 km below the seafloor offshore northern Honshu, Japan. The magnetic susceptibility record reveals cm-scale increases that are likely the result of density sorting causing concentration of heavy minerals. The magnetic mineral assemblage is dominated by titanomagnetite with an increase in Ti-rich titanomagnetite associated with deeply buried (~2 km) coal beds. This change along the titanomagnetite solid solution series, may represent selective dissolution of Ti-poor, iron(III)-rich magnetite during microbial iron reduction since burial.