Science: Physics:


The Microwave Properties of Basalt Rocks from the Gharyan Volcanic Province

of Northwest Libya


Samir A. Hamouda*, Essam al-Talhi* and Mohamed B. Abdelmalik**

*Department of Physics, University of Benghazi, Libya

**Department of Earth Sciences, University of Benghazi, Libya


Link for Citation Purposes:



In this work, volcanic basalt rocks, which were collected from different parts of Gharyan area in Libya, have been discussed in the context of microwave absorptions and magnetic properties. The elemental compositions of these basalt rocks have been measured and their microwave absorptions and magnetic properties are discussed. This study has suggested that basalt rocks can be used as excellent electromagnetic radiation shielding materials, energy supply for soils and nutrients for agriculture products.


1.     Introduction:

Basalt rocks have various uses, they are used as a material for building roads, and especially railway tracks, in the production of rock wool that is used as an insulating material in stoves and furnaces, in the manufacture of ceramics and the manufacture of concrete shields that are used in the construction of nuclear reactors, and an energy supply for soils and nutrients for agriculture products. These rocks are found in Libya in many locations, and most of these rocks are basaltic igneous rocks. It was stated that basaltic composition may have surprisingly positive long-term effects for mankind and society [1]. In this paper, volcanic basalt rocks and their microwave absorptions and magnetic properties are discussed.


Electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is central for understanding the interaction of electromagnetic waves with matter (see figure1).


Image result for Electromagnetic Wave Theory

Figure 1: shows the electric and magnetic components of the wave perpendicular to each other [2].


The Electromagnetic spectrum (see figure2) is classified into six energy dependent regions: Radio waves (ƒÉ˃1m), microwaves (ƒÉ~10cm-1mm), Visible light (ƒÉ ~700-400nm), x-ray (ƒÉ ~ 1Å), gamma-ray (ƒÉ ~ 0.1Å), and cosmic ray.


Figure 2: The electromagnetic spectrum making emphasis on the microwave region.


The corresponding frequency range of microwaves is 30 GHz (109 Hz) to 300 GHz (1011 Hz) [3].


Microwaves, are reflected, absorbed, and transmitted by a matter. Magnetic materials absorb greatly microwaves. The more magnetic, the more microwaves are absorbed [4].Microwaves interact with matter, microscopically, through its constituent atoms, conduction electrons and atomic magnetic dipoles. The interactions of microwave with matters are well described by the electrodynamics properties of matter: electrical conductivity (ƒÐ), electric permittivity (ϵ), and magnetic permeability (ƒÊ). These properties allow determination of their electrical and magnetic behavior when microwaves interact with them [4].Material that can be used as a microwave absorber must be easily penetrated by microwaves and has the ability to convert microwave energy to another form of energy such as thermal energy. Such properties are characterized by magnetic materials. Magnetic material can be used to covert microwave energy to thermal energy [5].


2.     Experimental

Three basalt rocks samples (A-14, A-18, B-12) as shown in figure3, were taken from the Gharyan area. Description of samples and method of analysis were described elsewhere [6].


Figure 3: Shows the basalt rock samples


Table 1 shows their exact locations, which are rocks resulting from the accumulation of a group of minerals, which crystallized from magma under common conditions of pressure and temperatures.


Table1: Location of basalt samples taken from Gharyan area in Libya. GPS reading. [7].




H dd0 mm' ss"


Made of Occurrence







B 12

E 130 23' 20"

N 320 09' 48"

Lava Series

Olivine Basalt

A 14

E 130 14' 12"

N 320 01' 35"

LVC                       ( parasitic cone )

Olivine Basalt


Ultrabasic nodule

A 12

E 130 13' 59"

N 320 01' 22"

Lava Series

Olivine Basalt


3.     Results and Discussion

Elemental composition and concentration analysis of basalt samples (A12, A14, and B12) are shown in table 2.


Table2: Elemental composition and concentration analysis of basalt samples. Results are in (ppm).






Element Z










































Table 3, shows calculated number of atoms, resonance frequency and the ratios of magnetic energy (E) to the thermal energy kT for the elemental composition of basalt samples. Magnetic energies, E, were calculated with respect to the Earth magnetic field (50µT).Data are based on the average concentration of three samples for each element. The method of calculations is given elsewhere [8].


Table 3: Calculated number of atoms, resonance frequency and magnetic energy E/ kT ratios of the elemental composition of basalt samples [*9].



Magnetic* Type

No of atoms

Mass* Magnetic



ʋ (Hz)


































































It can be seen from table3, that all the elemental components of basalt rocks under study have resonant frequencies that represent a high absorption state all within the microwaves range. This is a good indication of high microwave absorption mechanism. On the other hand, most of these elements also have magnetic properties (ferro-para) magnetic with the exceptional zinc (diamagnetic). Ferromagnetism stands for the phenomenon by which certain metals and alloys, become magnetized in a magnetic field and retain their magnetism when the field is ceased. Paramagnetism is a type of magnetism whereby certain materials are weakly attracted by an external applied magnetic field, and create internal, induced magnetic moments in the direction of the applied magnetic field. However, such an effect come to normal as the applied magnetic field is turned off.  Diamagnetism, on the other hand, is a type of opposing internal weak magnetic field that is created when external magnetic field is applied to the material with paired electrons. The way a material responds to an electromagnetic field is determined by the so called electromagnetic properties of the material. Being a magnetic material is one such property. Another important electromagnetic property is the losses inside the material [10].


An excellent microwave absorber might comprise a layer of material with numerically equal values of complex permeability and permittivity and high loss tangents over a wide range of frequencies. The former ensures a perfect impedance match with air, thus enabling incident signals to enter the material without front-face reflection, and the latter promotes rapid attenuation after wards. Magnetic permeability (ƒÊ) and electric permittivity (ƒÃ) and are parameters coupled to a materialfs dielectric and magnetic properties; they are among the most relevant distinctions of absorbing materials [11].


Dielectric heating refers to heating by the electric field (E-field) component of the electromagnetic radiation, due to the presence of electric dipoles moments in polar molecules. In addition to the E-field, microwaves also have a magnetic field (H-field) component which also couples with some materials to induce heating (see figure1). However, microwave magnetic field heating over electric field heating for materials with magnetic properties has shown superior advantages. It was stated by [12, 13] that microwave magnetic field was more efficient than the electric field for heating some magnetic dielectric materials and certain conductive powder materials. It was even stated that the magnetic loss contributes significantly to the microwave heating of a broad range of materials including magnetic materials, conductors, semiconductor materials [14-15].These magnetic properties of basalt rocks make them an excellent medium for microwave absorption and an excellent source for storing magnetic energy. This property has several applications including, for example, in addition to the physical benefits that is used to strengthening the soil and can be considered as a good fertilizer in the soil as well as providing plants and trees with the energy required for growth [16, 17].


For biological Shieldings, theoretical calculations of the mass absorption coefficient of the basalt samples were made [18], and one aspect of this study is to know the extent of using these basalt rock samples in building protective barriers against radiation. Figure 4, shows the relationship between thickness and intensity of transmissible radiation at 1MeV for Basalt Rocks and lead. These basalt rocks exist in abundance and inexpensive. A comparison was also made between the mass absorption coefficients of these basalt samples with lead for 1MeV radiation.


Figure 4: Shows the relationship between thickness and intensity of transmissible radiation at 1MeV for Basalt Rocks and lead.




This study revealed the importance of basalt rocks from an industrial and agricultural point of view, as well as in concrete constructions, especially in building nuclear reactors and iron roads. Basaltic rocks have the advantage of their magnetic properties, which make them of great importance in absorbing microwave waves and storing magnetic energy. The presence of these rocks in large quantities in Libya makes them of great economic and technological importance Of course, this topic, the basalt rocks, requires various scientific studies and researches in order to explore their potential and relevant uses



We would wish to express our gratitude to the Head of The Nuclear Research Center in Tripoli's Atomic Energy Organization for his kind support. Special thanks also to Dr. Hamza  Break Hamza at The Nuclear Research Center at Tripoli's Atomic Energy Organization for carrying out the analysis and for his fruitful discussions about this work. We are also grateful to the people at The Libyan Petroleum Institute, Tripoli, for conducting Porosity measurements for the basalt samples.



[1] Valentin R. Troll et. al. (2017)., gVolcanic particles in agriculture and gardeningh, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Geologistsf Association & The Geological Society of London, Geology Today, Vol. 33, No. 4,

[2] Electromagnetic Wave Theory - Bing images - Bing

[3] Electromagnetic spectrum chart - Google Search - Bing

[4] Rafael Zamorano Ulloa, et. al., (2019), gThe Interaction of Microwaves with Materials of Different Propertiesh., The Interaction of Microwaves with Materials of Different Properties | IntechOpen

[5] M C Aisiyah et. al., (2019), gMagnetic and microwave absorbing properties of Zn-substituted Barium M-Hexaferrite in X-band frequency rangeh, IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. 496 012024

[6] Samir A Hamouda et. al. (2014), gPorosity measurements for some basalt rocks from the Gharyan Volcanic Province NW Libyah, Earth Science, Science publishing Group, p 26-30 (

[7] Jaffer  A., (2007),  gThe  Petrology  and  Geochemistry  of  Gharyan Volcanic  Province,  NW  Libyah,  University  of  Garyounis, M.Sc. Thesis.

[8] Samir A Hamouda et. al., (2019), gA New Physics Approach for Understanding the Mechanism of the Human Brainh., Physics: Medicine: Neurology, PELLAM JOURNAL OF SCIENCE & MEDICINE (


[10] OSKAR DANIELSSON., (2006)., gWave Energy Conversionh, Linear Synchronous Permanent Magnet Generator, Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 232.

[11] Luiza de C. Folgueras. Et. al., (2010),h Microwave absorbing paints and sheets based on carbonyl iron and polyaniline: measurement and simulation of their propertiesh, Journal of Aerospace Technology and Management, V. 2, n. 1, Jan. – Apr.

[12] Jing Sun. et. al., ( 2016), gReview on Microwave-Matter Interaction Fundamentals and Efficient Microwave-Associated Heating Strategiesh, Materials, 9, 231

[13] C.P. Ndepetea and S. Sert., (2016), gUse of Basalt Fibers for Soil Improvementh, ACTA PHYSICA POLONICA A, Vol. 130   a130z1p095.pdf (

[14] PETER VAN STRAATEN., gFarming with rocks and minerals: challenges and opportunitiesh, An Acad Bras Cienc. 78 (4)  a09v78n4.pdf (

[15] Frank Dietze. et. al., (2011).,gMagnetic anomalies and rock magnetism of basalts from Reykjanes (SW-Iceland)h, Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica 55(1):109-130  (PDF) Magnetic anomalies and rock magnetism of basalts from Reykjanes (SW-Iceland) (

[16] Milos Kuzvart., gIndustrial Minerals and Rocks in the 21st Centuryh.,      SEMINARIO_SEM_2_287.pdf (

[17] Decho Phueakphum and Kittitep Fuenkajorn., (2010).,h A rock fills based solar thermal energy storage system for housingh., ScienceAsia, 36,237-243

[18] Samir A Hamouda. et. al., (2021), gCalculation of Gamma-ray Mass Absorption Coefficients for some Geological Compounds for Energy of 10–150 keVh., Engineering and Scientific International Journal, Volume 8, Issue 2.





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