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Open-File Report 99-440

Preliminary Aeromagnetic Anomaly Map of California

By Carter W. Roberts and Robert C. Jachens

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.2 MB)Introduction

The magnetization in crustal rocks is the vector sum of induced in minerals by the Earth’s present main field and the remanent magnetization of minerals susceptible to magnetization (chiefly magnetite) (Blakely, 1995). The direction of remanent magnetization acquired during the rock’s history can be highly variable. Crystalline rocks generally contain sufficient magnetic minerals to cause variations in the Earth’s magnetic field that can be mapped by aeromagnetic surveys. Sedimentary rocks are generally weakly magnetized and consequently have a small effect on the magnetic field: thus a magnetic anomaly map can be used to “see through” the sedimentary rock cover and can convey information on lithologic contrasts and structural trends related to the underlying crystalline basement (see Nettleton,1971; Blakely, 1995).

The magnetic anomaly map (fig. 2) provides a synoptic view of major anomalies and contributes to our understanding of the tectonic development of California. Reference fields, that approximate the Earth’s main (core) field, have been subtracted from the recorded magnetic data. The resulting map of the total magnetic anomalies exhibits anomaly patterns related to the distribution of magnetized crustal rocks at depths shallower than the Curie point isotherm (the surface within the Earth beneath which temperatures are so high that rocks lose their magnetic properties). The magnetic anomaly map has been compiled from existing digital data. Data obtained from aeromagnetic surveys that were made at different times, spacings and elevations, were merged by analytical continuation of each set onto a common surface 305 m (1000 ft) above terrain. Digital data in this compatible form allows application of analytical techniques (Blakley, 1995) that can be used to enhance anomaly characteristics (e.g., wavelength and trends) and provide new interpretive information.

First posted March 30, 2000

The National Geologic Map Database has additional data about this publication

For additional information, contact:
Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 901
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

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Suggested citation:

Roberts, C. W., Jachens, R. C., 1999, Preliminary Aeromagnetic Anomaly Map of California: U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-440, 14 pp.,

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