Department of Earth Sciences
Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences

Bruce Moskowitz


277 Shepherd Labs


Professor and Director, Institute for Rock Magnetism 
PhD, 1980, University of Minnesota

Research Interests

  • The field of paleomagnetism is founded on the ability of magnetic minerals in rock to record and store information about the geologic history of the Earth's magnetic field. This magnetic memory, if stored and read correctly, provides geoscientists with information relevant for solving diverse problems about our planet. Paleomagnetism is used to understand processes in the deep interior associated with generation of the geomagnetic field, the 2-3 billion year geologic history of plate motions of the continents, and even global climate changes associated with the cycles of ice ages over the past 2 million years. My research field is rock and mineral magnetism, which is concerned with the physical and chemical foundations of paleomagnetism. If paleomagnetism is concerned with reading the signal, rock magnetism attempts to determine the fidelity of the signal by studying the nature of the recording media (magnetic minerals) and the recording process (magnetic memory and its long term storage).
  • My research focuses on two major themes: rock magnetism and biogeomagnetism. In rock magnetism, my goal is to understand the interconnections between macroscopic magnetic behavior associated with magnetic memory and the underlying micromagnetic structures of iron oxide particles. In biogeomagnetism, my work has included the magnetic study of nanophase iron oxides produced by microorganisms, such as magnetotactic and iron-reducing bacteria, and magnetic methodologies for identifying iron biominerals in sediments. Such information is important in for understanding the distribution, abundance, and preservation of biogenic magnetic minerals in terrestrial and marine environments, and the significance of magnetofossils in the rock record. Recent results include the study of the magnetism, geochemistry, and geobiology of a modern chemically-stratified environment containing a diverse population of magnetite-producing microorganisms and their contribution to iron cycling across the redox boundary.

Courses Taught

  • GEO 1001 Earth and its Environments
  • GEO 1012 Natural Hazards and Disasters
  • GEO 2201 Solid Earth Dynamics
  • GEO 4203 Principles of Geophysical Exploration
  • GEO 4204 Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism

Selected Publications

  • Till, J.L., M.J. Jackson, and B.M. Moskowitz. (2010) Remanence stability and magnetic fabric development in synthetic shear zones deformed at 500°C. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., doi:10.1029/2010GC003320.
  • Klein, F., Wolfgang Bach, Niels Jöns, Tom McCollom, Bruce Moskowitz, Thelma Berquó, (2009) Iron Partitioning and Hydrogen Generation During Serpentinization of Abyssal Peridotites from 15°N on the Mid- Atlantic Ridge, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73, 6868-6893.
  • Moskowitz, B.M., D. A. Bazylinski, R. Egli, R. B. Frankel, and K. Edwards. (2008) Magnetic Properties Associated with Marine Magnetotactic Bacteria in a Seasonally Stratified Coastal Pond (Salt Pond, MA, USA), Geophys. Int. J 75-92.
  • Kashefi, K., B.M. Moskowitz, and D. R. Lovley. (2008) Characterization of extracellular minerals produced during dissimilatory Fe(III) and U(VI) reduction at 100°C by Pyrobaculum islandicum, Geobiology, 6, 147-154.
  • Moskowitz, B.M. (2007) Anhysteretic Remanent Magnetization, in Encyclopedia of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism, ed. D. Gubbins and E. Herrero-Bervera, p 572-580, Springer.
  • Chen, A. P., R. Egli, and B. M. Moskowitz (2007) First-order reversal curve (FORC) diagrams of natural and cultured biogenic magnetic particles, J. Geophys. Res., 112, B08S90, doi:10.1029/2006JB004575.
  • Carter-Stilgitz, Brian, Bruce Moskowitz, Peter Solheid, Thelma S. Berquó, Michael Jackson, and Andrey Kosterov (2006) Low-temperature magnetic behavior of multi-domain titanomagnetites: TM0, TM16, and TM35, J. Geophys. Res., 111, B12S05, doi:10.1029/2006JB004561
  • Posfai, M, B.M. Moskowitz, B. Arato, D. Schuler, C. Flies, D.A., Bazylinski, R.B. Frankel. (2006) Properties of intracellular magnetite crystals produced by Desulfovibrio magneticus strain RS-1, Earth Planet. Sci., Lett., 249, 444-455.
  • Housen, B., and B. Moskowitz, Depth Distribution of Magnetofossils in Near Surface Sediments from the Blake/Bahama Outer Ridge, western North Atlantic Ocean determined by Low-Temperature Magnetism, (2006) J. Geophys. Res., doi:1029/2005JG000068.

Recent Research Support

  • 2010-2013 NSF Continuation of a Facility: Institute for Rock Magnetism
  • 2009-2011 NSF (CO-PI) Development of a Closed Cycle Cryostat for Full-Vector, Low-Temperature Magnetic Measurements of Geologic Materials
  • 2007-2011 NSF (CO-PI) Acquisition of DC-SQUID Magnetometer
  • 2007-2010 NSF (CO-PI) Continuation of a Facility: Institute for Rock Magnetism
  • 2007-2011 NSF Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility and Remanence


Recent Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, American Geophysics Union, elected 2000