Magnetic Fabrics and Petrography of Rocksalts Reveal Preferred Orientation of Anhydrites within a Halite Matrix

Ran Issachar, Ram Weinberger, Tsafrir Levi, Jessica Barabasch, Janos L. Urai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We investigate the magnetic fabrics and microstructures of diamagnetic rocksalt samples from the Sedom salt wall (diapir), Dead Sea Basin, as possible strain markers. A comprehensive study of anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS), combined with magnetic, microtextural, geochemical and mineralogical analyses allows us to depict the deformation mechanisms and to reveal the mineral sources of the AMS. The rocksalts are composed of halite as the major mineral phase (>80%) and anhydrite as a minor phase (5–20%), and have an average magnetic susceptibility value of −13.4 ± 0.7 × 10−6 SI. Ferromagnetic and paramagnetic minerals make a negligible contribution to the bulk magnetic properties of the samples. The AMS indicates and reveals significant anisotropy with the maximum susceptibility axis (K1) subparallel to the bedding strike, although the cubic halite crystals are isotropic. Polarizing microscope and SEM images show preferred alignment of needle‐like anhydrite crystals parallel to the direction of the K1 axis. Petrographic investigation of gamma irradiated thin sections reveals the deformation recorded in the microstructures of the rocksalts and points to a dominant contribution by dislocation creep, although both dislocation creep and pressure solution were active deformation mechanisms. We infer that during dislocation creep, the thin bands of anhydrite crystals deform along with the surrounding halite grains. We suggest that although the shape preferred orientation of halite grains is not indicative of finite strain because of resetting by grain boundary migration, the preferred orientation of the anhydrite crystals may be. These results suggest that the AMS of the rocksalts provides a textural proxy that reflects deformation processes of the rocksalts, despite their very low magnetic susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number192
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Anhydrite crystal
  • Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS)
  • Preferred orientation
  • Rocksalt microstructures
  • Sedom salt wall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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