Abstract

The Baja B.C. model has the Insular Superterrane and related entities of the Canadian Cordillera subject to >3000 km of northward displacement with respect to cratonic North America from ∼90 to ∼50 Ma. The Upper Cretaceous Nanaimo Group (on and about Vancouver Island, British Columbia) is a prime target to test the model paleomagnetically because of its locality and age. We have widely sampled the basin (67 sites from seven islands spread over 150 km, Santonian to Maastrichtian age). Most samples have low unblocking temperatures (<450°C) and coercivities (∼10 mT) and strong present-field contamination, forcing us to reject three quarters of the collection. Beds are insufficiently tilted to provide a conclusive fold test, and we see evidence of relative vertical axis rotations. However, inclination-only analysis indicates pretilting remanence is preserved for many samples. Both polarities are observed, and reversals correlate well to paleontological data, proving that primary remanence is observed. The mean inclination, 55 ± 3°, is 13 ± 4° steeper than previously published results. Our new paleolatitude, 35.7 ± 2.6° is identical to that determined from the slightly older Silverquick and Powell Creek formations at Mount Tatlow, yet the inferred displacement is smaller (2300 ± 400 km versus 3000 ± 500 km) because North America was drifting southward starting around 90 Ma. The interpreted paleolatitude conflicts with sedimentologic and paleontologic evidence that the Nanaimo Basin was deposited near its present northern position.

You do not currently have access to this article.