Are hydrodynamic shape effects important when modelling the formation of depositional remanent magnetization?
Recent conceptual models have attributed the weak depositional remanent magnetizations observed in natural sediments to flocculation processes in the water column. Magnetic particles included into flocs have not only to rotate themselves into alignment with the geomagnetic field but also the larger particles to which they are attached, making remanence acquisition an inefficient process. Alignment is hindered further when the magnetization vectors of the particles in any given floc partially cancel, reducing the overall magnetic torque. Existing numerical simulations of flocculation effects on depositional remanence formation have been limited to spherical bodies with translational and rotational motion acting independently of each other. In the case of non-spherical flocs, the translational and rotational motion are coupled and such bodies will describe a complex trajectory through the water column. Calculations will be presented that show the torque exerted on a non-spherical floc by the surrounding water can be orders of magnitude greater than the magnetic torque. Non-spherical flocs will, therefore, align less efficiently with the geomagnetic field and hydrodynamic effects may play an important role in controlling the magnitude of sedimentary remanence.