Abstract Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Hole 735B was drilled to a depth of 1.5 km in a tectonic window of gabbroic lower oceanic crust created at the Southwest Indian Ridge. The gabbros have a very stable natural remanent magnetization (NRM) of reversed polarity with most unblocking temperatures slightly below the Curie temperature of magnetite. The NRM includes a drilling-induced overprint but its intensity decays strongly towards the interior of the drill core. The demagnetization data yield no or only a very small secondary magnetization component acquired during the present Brunhes chron or an earlier normal chron, suggesting cooling through most of the blocking temperature range during chron C5r and a strong resistance against the acquisition of thermoviscous magnetization. A novel furnace has been designed to measure magnetizations and their time dependences at high temperatures (up to 580°C) inside a commercial SQUID magnetometer. Magnetic viscosity experiments have been conducted on the gabbros at temperatures up to 550°C to determine the time and temperature stability of remanent magnetization. Viscosities are generally small and increase little with temperature below the main blocking temperature, where the increase becomes almost an order of magnitude. Extrapolations to geological times infer viscous acquisitions that would be 5–25% of a thermoremanence in 100 kyr and at temperatures of 200–500°C. At ocean bottom temperature the predicted magnetization of one sample acquired in the present Brunhes chron should be 10% of the NRM. However, this is not recognized during NRM demagnetization and partial thermoremanent magnetization (pTRM) acquisitions at 250°C are also much smaller than predicted. It thus appears that the NRMs are generally magnetically harder than magnetizations acquired after heating to 570°C in the laboratory. Susceptibility changes during heating are small (<5%) indicating a seemingly stable magneto-mineralogy, but conspicuous minima occur after heating to 520°C. Also, quasi paleointensity experiments reveal characteristic patterns in the NRM/pTRM ratios and also large increases in pTRM capacity after heating to 570°C. Moreover, anhysteretic remanent magnetization acquisition in the low field range (≤10 mT) is strongly enhanced after heating by factors up to three. The alteration of the magneto-mineralogy is interpreted to result from the annealing of defects in magnetite that originate from tectonically induced strain. The oceanic gabbros of Hole 735B are thus ideal source layer material for marine magnetic anomalies, and secondary thermoviscous acquisition, as a possible cause for anomalous skewness, is essentially absent.