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Magnetic susceptibility

By: S. Christie

Method for Checking the Calibration

A calibration check core is provided, with the serial number and the known magnetic susceptibility value of the core printed around the centre of the core.

To check the calibration of the MS2C Magnetic Susceptibility Meter, place the toggle switch between M and Z. Set the Meter on CGS at 1.0, which corresponds to the units of the given magnetic susceptibility value on the calibration check core. Zero the Meter so that it reads "0000". Place the core in the sensor, so that the dotted line at the centre of the core lines up with the centre of the sensor. Press the "M" ("Measure") button on the front of the Meter. The value obtained should be within 5% of the value printed on the calibration check core, 2046 x 106 CGS. Therefore, the value should be between 1943-2148 x 106 CGS.

Method for Whole Core Measurements

•  Turn on the printer, the Bartington Instruments Magnetic Susceptibility Meter, then the computer. The order is important, as it allows for the proper establishment of the communications link.

•  Set the Magnetic Susceptibility Meter between M and Z, at CGS at 0.1. The meter needs to warm up for at least 10 minutes before it is zeroed or any measurements are taken. Note that whole core measurements are normally taken at on the 1.0 range, but the 0.1 range is best for organic samples with weaker magnetic components. SI is the universal standard for magnetic susceptibility measurements. Measurements may be made in CGS units, as the magnetic susceptibility value printed on the calibration check core is in CGS, as are previous magnetic susceptibility values measured at this lab. To convert CGS units to SI, multiply the value by 0.4p.

•  In the C:/ prompt, type "cd sus" (enter), "sus" (enter).

•  Select "Whole Core Measurements" and enter an appropriate file name, with no numbers, spaces or special characters. Choose the C:/ directory, and enter 0.1 for the precision, the length of the sample (in cm), 1cm for the starting measurement, and 1cm for the measurement interval.

•  Prepare the core. Remove all of the metal, such as the protective aluminium foil. Let the core warm to room temperature. Place the core in the black half-cylinder tube that is marked at 1cm intervals.

•  Ensure the proper ambient conditions for measuring magnetic susceptibility. Do not use the meter in very wet conditions, maintain a constant and cool ambient temperature, and take the measurements in a quiet environment. The vibrations from noise may alter the readings obtained.

•  Place the sensor as far as possible from any sources of magnetic disruption or heat, including electrical outlets, the computer, your body, direct sunlight, draughts, and metal objects (even nails or screws in the table may influence the reading obtained). It is a good idea to remove metallic jewellery such as rings, watches, or bracelets. Keep your hands/fingers away from the part of the core being measured and the sensor.

•  Follow the instructions prompted by the computer. Keep the sensor empty to zero the meter and to take the background measurement. Press the space bar once to save these readings. When the computer prompts you to "press space bar to save reading," place the core (at the first interval to be measured, 1cm) in the sensor. Press the space bar twice and wait as the meter records the susceptibility measurement. You will know it is done measuring when you hear a beep and the computer prompts you to "press space bar to save reading". Repeat for each centimetre, trying to keep the amount of time between measurements as consistent as possible.

•  To re-measure a depth, press R. To re-start the core at any time, press "S"

•  When you have measured the entire core, remove the core from the sensor. Press the space bar once, and then type "E" to end the measuring session. Take a second background reading as prompted by the computer.

•  To save your measurements, press the space bar twice. All of the measurements you have made are saved on the C:/ drive. Press the space bar when prompted to print the measurements, and place the printout in the appropriate section of the green binder in the lab to keep an archive of which cores have been measured.

•  Repeat the measurements (measure the whole core again) to validate your results. If there is a large discrepancy between your first and second readings, do the measurements a third time.

•  It is important to never press F10, as this will return you to the main menu of the susceptibility program without giving you the option to save your measurements.

•  If at any time the program does not respond (it freezes), press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to restart the computer.

•  To import your measurements into a spreadsheet program such as Excel, you must convert the file you have saved to a .prn file. To do this, exit the Magnetic Susceptibility program to the C:/ prompt. Type "suspread." When the computer asks for input path/filename, type "c: (filename).wc. When its asks for output path/filename, type "c: (filename).prn".

•  Now, copy the .prn file to a diskette. Exit to the C:/ prompt and type "copy (filename.prn) a:"


Anonymous 1995. Operation Manual for Multisus IBM Compatible Software. Witney, Bartington Instruments Ltd., 12p.

Anonymous 1995. Operation Manual for MS2 Magnetic Susceptibility System. Witney, Bartington Instruments Ltd., 29p.

Dearing, J.A. 1994. Environmental Magnetic Susceptibility Using the Bartington MS2 System. Kentworth, Chi Publishing, 104p.

Dearing, J.A. 1986. "Core Correlation and Total Sediment Influx." In Berglund, B.E. (ed.), Handbook of Holocene Palaeoecology and Palaeohydrology. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, pp.247-273.

Roch, Marie-Claude 1999. Susceptibilité Magnétique. Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology.



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