Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Allan S. Gilbert


  • Rinita A. DalanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4409-0_170


Low-field magnetic susceptibility; Magnetic susceptibility


Magnetic susceptibility. The ratio of the magnetization induced in a sample to the inducing (magnetizing) field.

Volume susceptibility. Magnetic susceptibility expressed as susceptibility per unit volume (κ), dimensionless in SI units.

Mass magnetic susceptibility. Mass-normalized susceptibility (χ) equal to volume susceptibility divided by the density of the sample, in SI units of m3/kg.


Magnetic susceptibility quantifies the degree to which a substance can be magnetized in a weak magnetic field similar to that of the Earth’s field – i.e., 5–100 μT (microteslas) – (Banerjee, 1981). This is an easily measured property that is commonly used to assess the concentration of magnetic materials in a sample. Magnetic susceptibility, however, depends not only on the concentration of magnetic grains but also on the composition (magnetic mineralogy) and size of those grains. Grain size refers to the...

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Earth ScienceMinnesota State University MoorheadMoorheadUSA