Abstract

Paleomagnetic sampling of the Lawrenceton Formation of the Silurian Botwood Group in northeastern Newfoundland was combined with detailed structural mapping of the area in order to determine the deformation history and make adequate structural corrections to the paleomagnetic data.Structural analysis indicates that the Lawrenceton Formation experienced at least two folding events: (i) a regional northeast–southwest-trending, Siluro-Devonian folding episode that produced a well-developed axial-plane cleavage; and (ii) an episode of local north-trending folding. Bedding – regional cleavage relationships indicate that the latter event is older than the regional folding.Thermal demagnetization of the Lawrenceton Formation yielded univectorial southerly and shallow directions (in situ). A fold test on an early mesoscale fold indicates that the magnetization of the Botwood postdates this folding event. However, our results, combined with an earlier paleomagnetic study of nearby Lawrenceton Formation rocks, demonstrate that the magnetization predates the regional folding. Therefore, we conclude that the magnetization occurred subsequent to the local folding but prior to the period of regional folding.While a tectonic origin for local folding cannot be entirely excluded, the subaerial nature of these volcanics, the isolated occurrence of these folds, and the absence of similar north-trending folds in other areas of eastern Notre Dame Bay suggest a syndepositional origin. Consequently, the magnetization may be nearly primary. Our study yields a characteristic direction of D = 175°, I = +43°, with a paleopole (16°N, 131 °E) that plots near the mid-Silurian track of the North American apparent polar wander path. This result is consistent with an early origin for the magnetization and supports the notion that the Central Mobile Belt of Newfoundland was adjacent to the North American craton, in its present-day position, since the Silurian.

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