Department of Earth Sciences
Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences

Banerjee, Subir


233 Tate Hall



Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Founding Director, Institute for Rock Magnetism

PhD, 1963 / ScD, 1983, Cambridge University

Research Group Web Site: Institute for Rock Magnetism

221 Shepherd Labs 
University of Minnesota 
612-625-9985 (office) 
612-624-5274 (lab) 
612-624-1333 (geology office) 
612-625-7502 (fax) 
Email: banerjee@...




Research Interests


        The main focus of my current research is magnetochemistry of nanoparticle �iron oxides� that include ferrihydrite, goethite, magnetite and hematite. Our goal is to provide magnetic tools to identify these �signature minerals� of environmental change and quantify the environmental controls on their formation and alteration. In addition to low temperature-high field magnetometry and M�ssabuer spectra in our laboratory, we have an international collaboration with colleagues from materials synthesis and characterization, synchrotron radiation (X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism), Soil Science and Molecular Dynamics.

        In recent past, I have worked on geological records of environmental change using nanoparticles of iron oxides. New techniques have been developed for rapid magnetic analysis of soil stratigraphy leading to models of pedogenesis, relative dating of soil horizons and paleoclimatic change for the last 150,000 years in the northern hemisphere. An offshoot of the above research is the ability to recognize abrupt high resolution climatic reversals within glacial epochs through a magnetic proxy of sharp grain-size changes.

        With the help of my colleagues, and financial support from the University of Minnesota, the W.M. Keck foundation and the National Science Foundation, I established in 1990 the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM), a national facility for state-of-the-art instrumentation and research in rock magnetism. Through a Visiting Fellowship Program the IRM provides cost-free access and training to established scientists and graduate students mainly from the U.S. and Canada, but also from Europe and Asia. Contact with these visitors is a bonus for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows working at our institute. It is the only such comprehensive facility in the world today for fundamental and applied research in rock magnetism.

Professional Society and Academy Memberships

  • American Geophysical Union (Fellow)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Fellow)


Honors and Awards


  • 2006 John Adam Fleming Medal, American Geophysical Union
  • 2004, Louis N�el Medal, European Geosciences Union
  • 2003, William Gilbert Award, American Geophysical Union, Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union


Courses Taught before 2008


  • Freshman Seminar: Ubrupt Climate Change
  • Geodynamics I (Solid Earth)
  • Advanced Rock Magnetism


Selected Graduate Theses Supervised


  • Liu Qingsong, Ph.D., 2004. �Pedogenesis and its effects on the natural remanent magnetization acquisition history of the Chinese loess.�
  • France Lagroix, Ph.D., 2004. �Contributions from rock magnetism to Central Alaskan loess deposits and titanium-rich compositions of the hematite-ilmenite solid solution series.�
  • Brian Carter-Stiglitz, Ph.D., 2003. �Rock Magnetism: Studies in theory, data manipulation, and application.�
  • Jana Sharpe, M.A., 1996. "Environmental archaelogy in central Alaska: A magneto-stratigraphic correlation of Tanana Valley archaeological sites with global climatic change." (Department of Anthropology)


Current Graduate Students


  • Ioan Lascu (co-advisor: Emi Ito)
  • Jasmine Erbs (co-advisor: R. Lee Penn in Chemistry dept.)


Selected Publications


  • Erbs, J.J., T.S. Berqu�, S.K. Banerjee, and R.L. Penn, Reductive Dissolution and Magnetism of Arsenic-Bearing Ferrihydrite, submitted to J. American Chemical Society, 2008
  • Berqu�, T. S., S. K. Banerjee, R. G. Ford, R. L. Penn, and T. Pichler. 2007. High crystallinity Si-ferrihydrite: An insight into its N�el temperature and size dependence of magnetic properties, J. Geophys. Res., 112, B02102, doi:10.1029/2006JB004583.
  • Carter-Stiglitz, B., Banerjee, S.K., Gourlan, A., and E. Oches. 2006. A multi-proxy study of Argentina loess: Marine oxygen isotope stage 4 and 5 environmental record from pedogenic hematite. Paleo. Paleo. Paleo., vol. 239. 45-62.
  • Guyodo, Y., LaPara, T.M., Anschutz, A.J., Penn, R.L., Banerjee, S.K., Geiss, C.E. and W. Zanner. 2006. Rock magnetic, chemical and bacterial community analysis of a modern soil from Nebraska. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. vol. 251. 168-178.
  • Guyodo, Y., Banerjee, S.K., Penn, R.L., Burleson, D., Berqu�, T.S., Seda, T. and P. Solheid. 2006. Magnetic properties of synthetic 6-line ferrihydrite nanoparticles. Phys. Earth Planet. Int.; doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2005-05-009.
  • Banerjee, S.K. 2006. Environmental Magnetism of Nanophase Iron Minerals: Testing the Biomineralization Pathway. Phys. Earth Planet. Int.; doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2005.04.014.
  • Liu, Q., Banerjee, S.K., Jackson, M.J., Deng, C., Pan, Y., and R. Zhu. 2005. Inter-profile correlation of the Chinese loess/paleosol sequences during Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage 5 and indications of pedogenesis. Quat. Sci. Rev. 24, 195-210.
  • Lagroix, F., Banerjee, S.K. and B.M. Moskowitz. 2005. Revisiting the mechanism of reversed thermoremanent magnetization based on observations from synthetic ilmenite (y = 0.7). J. Geophys. Res. 110; doi: 10.1029/2004JB003076.


Recent Research Support


  • 8/2007 to 7/2010, NSF, Continuation of a Facility: Institute for Rock Magnetism
  • 5/2005 to 8/2007, NSF, Sediment Nanomagnetism and Environmental Change: the Microbial Mineral Link
  • 9/2003 to 8/2007, NSF, Facility Support: Development and Maintenance of the Magnetics Information Consortium (MagIC)