Is Rock Magnetic ? 13 Facts You Should Know !

Rocks are solid in nature equipped with many physical properties like density, porosity, permeability, etc. Let us have a look whether rocks possess magnetic properties or not.

Rocks are magnetic in nature but not to a greater extent. There are some mineral grains and crystals in rocks which are magnetic and they are the reason behind the magnetic properties of the rocks. As these grains or crystals are very less in number in rocks hence the magnetic properties are not visible in them.

Let us go through the types of rocks that are magnetic in nature, the magnetic properties of rocks, which type of rock is naturally magnetic, whether moon, marble, and igneous rocks are magnetic or not, and many more questions like these.

Are all rocks magnetic?

Rocks possess mechanical properties like modulus of elasticity, Poisson’s ratio, strength etc. Let us know if all rocks are magnetic in nature or not.

All rocks are magnetic in nature. Magnetic properties of rocks depend upon the proportion of magnetite,ilmenite or pyrrhotite present in the composition of a rock. The more these three or one among these three is present in a rock it gains more magnetic properties.

If an increased amount of magnetite is present in sandstone it starts behaving like an iron core which can attract a magnet.

What type of rock is magnetic?

Rocks that possess magnetic properties are known as lodestones. Let us know what are the types of rocks that possess magnetic properties.

There are certain types of rocks that possess magnetic characteristics. These certain types of rocks are obsidian, hematite, basalt, tiger eye quartz, magnetite, granite, nickel, and onyx. Obsidian is used to have hematite and magnetite in larger proportions and quartz tiger’s eye is used to have hematite in it.

Image Credit : Lodestone by Chris Oxford (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Rock magnetic susceptibility

Magnetic susceptibility is the measurement of the magnetization of a particular material when a magnetic field is applied to it. Let us focus on the magnetic susceptibility of a rock.

In general, the susceptibility of magnetite is 6000 x 10-3 SI units. The volume in the percentage of magnetite which is present in rock is the key factor in determining the magnetic susceptibility of that particular rock. Magnetite is present in igneous and metamorphic rocks abundantly.

Other than magnetite ilmenite of susceptibility 1800 x 10-3 SI units and hematite of susceptibility 6.5 x 10-3 SI units which are present in rocks also determines rock magnetic susceptibility.

Rock magnetic properties

Rocks have several magnetic properties. The properties are:

  • Igneous rocks are prone to have more magnetic properties as compared to the sedimentary rocks. In this case overlapping takes place.
  • When there is no influence of an external field,the net magnetization of a rock remains zero. If it is influenced by earth’s magnetic field,magnetic domains try to be aligned which results in a non zero magnetic field. m=k.H where k =magnetic susceptibility,m=magnetization and H=strength of the magnetic field.
  • Magnetite is heavy in nature and usually accumulates with the sediments.

Rock magnetic polarity

Magnetic polarity is basically the equivalent of electric polarity of charges. Let us have a look at rock magnetic polarity.

Rock magnetic polarity is defined as the magnetic constituents that are present in the rock are used to have the same polarities as the earth’s magnetic field.

What rock is naturally magnetic?

A material is magnetic in nature signifies that it can attract iron or any other magnetic material. Let us know about the particular type of a rock which is naturally magnetic.

Lodestone is that particular type of rock which is naturally magnetic. It is basically magnetized pieces of the mineral called magnetite. It can attract iron or any other magnetic material.

The first magnetic compasses were made using lodestone.

Is basalt rock magnetic?

Basalt is a fine-grained igneous rock formed from the cooling of magnesium and iron rich lava. Let us focus on whether basalt is magnetic or not.

Basalt is magnetic in nature. The reason for this is the presence of oxide minerals that make basalt a magnetic igneous rock. If basalt is cooled down it can gain strong magnetic characteristics and can attract iron within a local zone.

Is obsidian rock magnetic?

Obsidian is a dark coloured igneous rock formed from rapid cooling of molten material. Let us know whether it is magnetic or not.

Obsidian rock is magnetic naturally. Because it is made of fine grains of magnetite or hematite that have magnetic properties and they make obsidian able to retain magnetic properties.

Is moon rock magnetic?

Moon rocks originated on the earth’s moon. Let us have a look at whether moon rocks are magnetic in nature or not.

Moon rocks are magnetic in nature. This is possible because of the presence of iron specks of very small size in the glass shell of each dust particle of the moon. Using magnets these dust particles of moon can be separated and it is a proof of magnetism of the moon.

Is igneous rock magnetic?

Igneous rock which is also known as magnetic rock is used to be formed from the solidification or cooling of magma. Let us know if igneous rock has magnetism.

Igneous rock usually possesses magnetism due to the presence of iron-bearing minerals in them. During the cooling and solidification of magma these minerals are used to be generated and remain floating in the molten rock. These in turn make themselves aligned to the magnetic field.

Is marble rock magnetic?

Marble can be classified as a metamorphic rock which is made of carbonate particles. Let us focus whether marble has magnetic properties or not.

Marble rock is not magnetic in nature. As marble rock is mainly made of calcite or dolomite particles,it does not have magnetic materials in it. This absence of magnetic minerals makes marble non magnetic.

Is slate magnetic?

Slate is a homogeneous metamorphic rock. Let us go through if slate possesses magnetism.

Slate is not magnetic naturally. Slate is mainly formed by clay and volcanic ash particles that make it non magnetic.

Is lava magnetic?

Lava is basically the molten state of a rock that is expelled from the surface of the earth or the moon. Let us know whether lava is magnetic or not.

Lava is magnetic due to the presence of iron minerals in it abundantly. If the lava is cooled down below 550 degrees Celcius the iron minerals tend to make the lava more magnetic in nature. When the lava gets solidified completely the floating iron particles are used to lock in the magnetic field.

Is volcanic rock magnetic?

The lava eruption from a volcano is the source of forming volcanic rock. Let us have a look at whether volcanic rock has magnetic characteristics or not.

Volcanic rock is magnetic. The iron-bearing minerals present in volcanic rock usually act like tiny magnets which in turn make volcanic rock able to possess magnetism. These minerals usually align themselves to the magnetic field while they remain in a molten state.

Rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy

Rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy is a process related to environmental magnetism. Let us know about it.

Rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy is the process by which the measurements of magnetism or magnetic properties of a rock help in detecting past environmental changes.


In this article sub-topics like is slate magnetic, volcanic rock magnetic, lava magnetic, etc have been discussed in a brief form under the major topic of whether is rock magnetic or not.

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