Abstract

Redbeds and minor volcanic rocks of the Early Silurian Wigwam Formation of the Botwood Group were sampled in the Exploits Subzone of the Dunnage Zone of central Newfoundland. At 18 sedimentary and 3 volcanic sites thermal demagnetization isolated a shallow northward (or southward) magnetization (D = 356.0°, I = −16.8°; k = 12.9; α95 = 9.2°; n = 21 site means) after correction for the tilt of bedding. A positive fold test demonstrates that this remanence predates regional Siluro–Devonian folding. A primary age for the remanence is indicated by positive conglomerate tests on volcanic clasts, and reversals correlated with sedimentary stratigraphy. Antiparallel remanence directions at sites of opposite polarity indicate that the primary remanence is not partially overprinted by a secondary component. The Exploits Subzone of the Dunnage Zone is interpreted to have been at low paleolatitudes (8.5°S ± 5°) during the Early Silurian. We reached a similar conclusion for the Notre Dame Subzone of the Dunnage Zone in a previous paleomagnetic study of Early Silurian redbeds and volcanic rocks of the King George IV Lake area. The low paleolatitudes obtained for the Wigwam and King George IV Lake rocks do not differ significantly and, hence, provide no evidence for a large ocean between the two subzones in the Early Silurian. However, the azimuthal orientation of the subzones at that time is still uncertain, and an ocean with its axis oriented in a north–south direction would not be detected by the paleomagnetic method.

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