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 2003 Workshop
  [FORC of Chinese Loess]

Hysteresis curves are used in many different fields of science and engineering as a means of characterizing the magnetic properties of natural and synthetic materials. Although a typical hysteresis curve may consist of several hundred data points, researchers typically extract only a few numbers from these curves. These numbers provide information about the average magnetic properties of the material in question.

Researchers at UC-Davis have developed a technique that allows them to determine the distribution of magnetic properties within a material, rather than just the average value. The technique uses partial hysteresis curves to produce a First-Order Reversal Curve (or FORC) diagram. A FORC may provide considerably more information than a single hysteresis curve, such as details about the composition and size distribution of the magnetic particles and their interactions. The FORC method has been used for studying the magnetic properties of natural geologic samples and synthetic materials. For example, the FORC method is being used to study the magnetic properties of the igneous oceanic crust in order to determine the source of lineated marine magnetic anomalies as well as to study magnetic nanostructures in multilayer thin films and advanced magnetic media.