How to Use the Baylor Paleomagnetometer

Introduction: How to Use the Baylor Paleomagnetometer

Baylor's paleomagnetometer is used to measure a rock sample's magnetism at the time of formation. This is done by running the samples through the machine pictured above in alternating magnetic fields. This will eventually destroy any lingering magnetism that was imprinted on it over the millions of years that it has been in existence until finally, all that is left is the original magnetism of the rock, which reflects the state of the Earth's magnetic field and polarity at the time that the rock formed.

Step 1: Log Into the Computer

Using the case-sensitive password written on the yellow paper above the computer, log into the paleomag computer.

Note: For privacy and access purposes, the actual login information will not be shared.

Step 2: Open Up the Program

When you get to the desktop, open up the paleomagnetometer program. There are two available programs: "paleomag-2015 BAD" and "paleomag-2014 USE". Double click on "paleomag-2014 USE" to open up the program that operates the paleomagnetometer.

Step 3: Get the Program Running

When you open the program, a blank screen will show up. Look to the toolbar on the top left of the screen and hit the play button, shown as a black sideways triangle.

Step 4: Log Into the System

On the top window, you can click "OK" or close out the window.

For the second window, create a username for yourself using your first and last name and then enter in your Baylor email so you can receive updates on your samples later on in the process.

Once you have completed this step, two new windows will appear. Ignore the one in the top left titled "Magnetometer Control"; keep it open, but do not toggle with it. This will be used later on.

Step 5: Rehome the Tray

Of the two windows that have popped up, there will be a center window titled "Warning: XY Stage Homing". This means it is asking if the tray above is in a loading position, pictured above.

For this, click "Yes" and it will position the tray so that you may load your desired samples as shown in the photo.

Step 6: Start Sample Set Up

Once you have rehomed the tray and loaded the samples as shown in the picture, you will find that a window titled "Sample Index Registry" will automatically open. Right below this bar is an entry field titled "Data Directory". click on the "..." button to open up a File Explorer search window.

Step 7: Locate Desired Files

In the first window that opens, the location should show that you are in the Local Disk (C:). From there, locate and open the file labeled "paleomag".

Step 8: Locate the User Folder

The next file in the window explorer tab that needs to be opened is the folder titled "user". Double click on this folder to get to the list of users that are using the paleomagnetometer.

Step 9: Locate the Correct User File

Once you have opened the user file, a list of about 20 people will show up. These are all of the individuals who have used or are currently using the magnetometer for their research. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will open my folder, titled "Kenadi Sutton".

Step 10: Locate Desired Sample File

Within the user file, there are a series of files corresponding to different sites. For example, file WM21 corresponds to a series of samples taken from various sites at Hada Hill. To open the WM21 file, double click.

Step 11: Choose the Correct .sam File

This last step is important. Within the WM21 files, and every other site file, are two .sam files. The first one will read [site name].sam, the second one will read [site name]_all.sam. the all.sam files contains all the raw data for every sample taken from every site from a given location. In the case of the WM21 files, the WM21_all.sam file would have the raw data for every sample from every site at Hada Hill. The first file, in this case the WM21.sam file, the worst samples have been taken out and their data deleted. This is the file you use to run through the paleomagnetometer. For this step, double click on the WM21.sam file to open it in the paleomagnetometer program.

Step 12: Set Up the Registry

Once you've selected the WM21.sam file, the window in the first picture should appear. Before you can run this data through the paleomagnetometer with the samples, the window must be edited.

The first step in editing the registry is to locate the box that reads "backup data" automatically; it is under the "Load Sam File" tab and should be pre-selected. Once you find the box, unselect the option by clicking on it. The amount of data being recorded per site is enormous and there is no need to back up the data.

Step 13: Editing the Sample Index Registry

Next, look just above the "File Info" tab. Right above this tab, you should see a box labeled "Measure susceptibility". Like the backup data option, this box should be pre-selected. Again, we are going to unselect this box, as we do not need to measure the susceptibility of these samples.

Step 14: Add to Registry

Now that all the settings are properly set, select the "Add to Registry". Once you have added the list to the registry, the site name and information for WM21 should be listed in the bottom text box. Once that has been done, you may close out of the "Sample Index Registry" window.

Step 15: Modify Your Sample Registry

When you opened the program, a small window should have automatically shown up in the top left corner titled "Magnetometer control". Go to that box and select the "Modify" option.

Step 16: Modifying the Sample Registry

When you select the "Modify" option, a new window titled "Sample Settings" will appear. All of the presets should match the picture on the screen. These presets are exactly as they need to be so no editing is needed.

From this screen, locate and select the "Add to Registry" option. This will apply these preselected settings to the WM21 files we modified earlier.

Step 17: Finishing the Sample Settings

Once you have applied these settings to the registry, select the "Send list to command queue" option. This will put the registry we modified into a queue in the system and once we've approved the queue, the samples will be ready to run.

Step 18: Confirm Center of Tray

Once you have sent the list to the command queue, a new warning window will pop up asking you which cup is currently under the quartz tube.

Since the tray was rehomed in the beginning, none of the spots on the sample tray will be directly under the quartz tube of the paleomagnetometer. This is okay; what the window is asking is which spot in the tray has a hole that the quartz tray can lower itself through. Make sure the box with the highlighted number says 46. If the box does not say 46, it can break the system (meaning the tray and the quartz tube and the rigging).

Once you have confirmed or changed the box so that it shows that the center of the tray is slot number 46, press "OK".

Step 19: Run Your Samples

Once you've finished modifying the list, select the "Start changer" option. This will allow the system to automatically run your samples and demagnetize them through the use of alternating magnetic fields.

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    5 years ago

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing.