The Earth Magnetism Laboratory at Michigan Technological University was founded in 1979 by Professors Jimmy F. Diehl and Suzanne Beske-Diehl. In 2007, Aleksey Smirnov joined them as an assistant professor. Over the years, the laboratory has produced numerous important results in paleomagnetism, rock magnetism, and environmental magnetism. These research endeavors have been supported by the petroleum and mineral industries and the National Science Foundation.
The laboratory houses state-of-the-art instruments and facilities, and is now one of the best equipped laboratories worldwide. Our equipment permits us to perform the full spectrum of conventional paleomagnetic and rock-magnetic analyses as well as novel techniques such as using single silicate crystals for paleomagnetic and paleointensity analyses.
Current research directions of the EML include:
- Long-term evolution of the geometry, stability and strength of Earth’s magnetic field (especially in relation to the processes controlling the generation of the geomagnetic field, the early history of the field and inner core growth). Our on-going projects here include studies of Archean rocks in Western Australia and ~1.1 Ga Mid-Continent Rift rocks in the Keweenawan Peninsula.
- Environmental magnetism and its application for paleoclimatic and pedogenesis studies (including the investigations of Lake Superior sediments and terrestrial deposits in caves in the Czech Republic).
- The processes of acquisition and preservation of paleomagnetic and paleointensity signal in rocks.
- Magnetism of minerals, rocks, and synthetic materials.
- Biomagnetism and biomineralization processes.
- Development of new techniques and instruments for paleomagnetic and rock magnetic research.
The laboratory has a strong educational focus, characterized in particular by active involvement of undergraduate students in research projects. For example, Danford Moore, a GMES junior majoring in geophysics participated in field work in Western Australia during summer 2008, while Matt Laird, another geophysics major has participated in the collecting and analysis of Precambrian rocks associated with the 1.1 Ga Mid-continental Rift system.