Abstract

The age of the Sooke Formation on the southern coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, has long been controversial. Prior paleomagnetic studies have produced a puzzling counterclockwise tectonic rotation on the underlying Eocene volcanic basement rocks, and no conclusive results on the Sooke Formation itself. We took 21 samples in four sites in the fossiliferous portion of the Sooke Formation west of Sooke Bay from the mouth of Muir Creek to the mouth of Sandcut Creek. After both alternating field (AF) and thermal demagnetization, the Sooke Formation produces a single-component remanence, held largely in magnetite, which is entirely reversed and rotated counterclockwise by 35° ± 12°. This is consistent with earlier results and shows that the rotation is real and not due to tectonic tilting, since the Sooke Formation in this region has almost no dip. This rotational signature is also consistent with counterclockwise rotations obtained from the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula in the Port Townsend volcanics and the Eocene–Oligocene sediments of the Quimper Peninsula. The reversed magnetozone of the Sooke sections sampled is best correlated with Chron C6Cr (24.1–24.8 Ma) or latest Oligocene in age, based on the most recent work on the Liracassis apta Zone molluscan fauna, and also a number of unique marine mammals found in the same reversed magnetozone in Washington and Oregon.

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