Abstract

New paleomagnetic data have been obtained from the interbedded lava flows within the Copper Harbor Conglomerate on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Previous paleomagnetic studies of these lava flows, known collectively as the Lake Shore Traps, have produced contradictory results. To investigate the cause of these conflicting results, 30 sites encompassing the most complete section of lava flows possible were collected and analyzed.Well-defined characteristic directions of magnetization were isolated using either alternating-field or thermal demagnetization or a combination of both. These directions of magnetization are interpreted as primary magnetizations acquired during the original cooling of the lavas. Hysteresis, thermomagnetic, and petrographic analyses suggest the carrier of magnetization is a pseudo-single-domain, titanium-poor magnetite that has undergone some high-temperature oxidation.Site means determined from the 30 lava flows define three distinct directional clusters. Each cluster of directions corresponds to a different stratigraphic package of lava flows with the Copper Harbor Conglomerate. Between-site dispersion for each stratigraphic package or unit is much less than the expected value for Keweenawan-age rocks. Therefore, we suggest that most of the lava flows in each unit were extruded rapidly and that within an individual stratigraphic unit, paleosecular variation has not been adequately sampled. This explains why previous studies on the Lake Shore Traps have produced such different results; each study did not sample the entire range of directions possible in these lava flows.The paleomagnetic pole calculated from the 30 site-mean virtual geomagnetic poles is located at 22.2°N, 180.8°E (k = 35.0; A95 = 6.5°). The new Copper Harbor pole is now located in the appropriate chronological position with respect to the underlying Portage Lake Volcanics and the overlying Nonesuch Shale on the Keweenawan apparent polar wander path. The similarity of our Copper Harbor pole to that of the Portage Lake Volcanics reinforces the idea that the Copper Harbor Conglomerate is more closely related in time to the Portage Lake Volcanics than to the Nonesuch Shale.

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