Studies of magnetic properties enable reconstruction of environmental conditions that affected magnetic minerals incorporated in sediments from Upper Klamath Lake. Analyses of stream sediment samples from throughout the catchment of Upper Klamath Lake show that alteration of Fe-oxide minerals during subaerial chemical weathering of basic volcanic rocks has significantly changed magnetic properties of surficial deposits. Titanomagnetite, which is abundant both as phenocrysts and as microcrystals in fresh volcanic rocks, is progressively destroyed during weathering. Because fine-grained magnetite is readily altered due to large surface-to-volume ratios, weathering causes an increase in average magnetic grain size as well as reduction in the quantity of titanomagnetite both absolutely and relative to hematite. Hydrodynamic mineralogical sorting also produces differences in magnetic properties among rock and mineral grains of differing sizes. Importantly, removal of coarse silicate and Fe-oxide grains by sorting concentrated extremely fine-grained magnetite in the resulting sediment. The effects of weathering and sorting of minerals cannot be completely separated. These processes combine to produce the magnetic properties of a non-glacial lithic component of Upper Klamath Lake sediments, which is characterized by relatively low magnetite content and coarse magnetic grain size. Hydrodynamic sorting alone causes significant differences between the magnetic properties of glacial flour in lake sediments and of fresh volcanic rocks in the catchment. In comparison to source volcanic rocks, glacial flour in the lake sediment is highly enriched in extremely fine-grained magnetite.
Additional publication details
Basis for paleoenvironmental interpretation of magnetic properties of sediment from Upper Klamath Lake (Oregon): Effects of weathering and mineralogical sorting