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

  • Chen, A. P. V.M. Berounsky, M.K. Chan, M.G. Blackford4, C. Cady, B.M. Moskowitz, P. Kraal,E.A. Lima, R.E. Kopp, G.R. Lumpkin, B.P. Weiss, P. Hesse & N.G.F. Vella (2014)  Magnetic properties of uncultivated magnetotactic bacteria and their contribution to a stratified estuary iron cycle. Nat. Commun. 5:4797 doi: 10.1038/ncomms5797.
  • Klein, Frieder, Wolfgang Bach, Susan Humphris, Wolf-Achim Kahl, Niels Jöns, Bruce Moskowitz, and Thelma Berquó (2014) Magnetite in seafloor serpentinites- Some like it hot, Geology, 42;135-138.
  • Reynolds,  Richard L,  Stephen R. Cattle, Bruce M. Moskowitz, Harland L. Goldstein, Kimberly Yauk, Cody B. Flagg, Thelma S. Berquó, Raymond F. Kokaly, Suzette Morman, George N. Breit, (2014). Iron oxide minerals in dust of the Red Dawn event in eastern Australia, September 2009, Aeolian Research, Aeolian Research 15, 1–13.
  • Till, J. L., and  B. Moskowitz (2013), Magnetite deformation mechanism maps for better prediction of strain partitioning, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, doi:10.1002/GRL.50170
  • McCollom, T., Mark Robbins, Bruce Moskowitz, Thelma Berquó, and Brian M. Hynek, (2013) Experimental Study of Acid-sulfate Alteration of Basalt and Implications for Sulfate Deposits on Mars , Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets, 118, 1–38.
  • Till, J. L., Moskowitz, B. M. and Jackson, M. J. (2012), High-temperature magnetic fabric development from plastically deformed magnetite in experimental shear zones. Geophysical Journal International, 189: 229–239. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05338
  • 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.
  • 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.

Recent Research Support

  • 2015-2018 NSF High-Temperature Magnetic Imaging of Magnetic Minerals
  • 2013-2016 NSF Continuation of a Facility: Institute for Rock Magnetism
  • 2013-2015 NSF Acquisition of high-temperature rock magnetic instruments
  • 2010-2013 NSF Continuation of a Facility: Institute for Rock Magnetism


Recent Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, American Geophysics Union, elected 2000