Abstract

The Keweenawan Midcontinent Rift of North America records significant continental rifting between ca. 1110 and 1085 Ma, and preserves the most detailed paleomagnetic record of plate motion of any continent in Precambrian time. U/Pb dates from extrusive and intrusive rocks of the western Lake Superior Basin suggest a latent stage of reduced magmatic activity from ca. 1106 to 1100 Ma that places constraints on the dynamics of rift development and the record of plate motion. However, it has remained unclear whether this stage is a feature of the entire >2500-km-long rift. The succession of picritic and basaltic lava flows at Mamainse Point in the eastern Lake Superior Basin may be the most continuous and best exposed record of rift-related volcanism and magnetic reversals, but its age and duration relative to the latent stage has been uncertain due to a lack of radioisotopic dates. We present a weighted mean 206Pb/238U date of 1100.36 ± 0.25 Ma on zircon crystals isolated from a newly discovered tuff within the upper reversed polarity portion of the stratigraphy below the Great Conglomerate. This date indicates that eruptive activity at Mamainse Point continued during the interval of diminished magmatic activity in the western Lake Superior Basin. This result strengthens the chronostratigraphic framework of rift development while explaining the preservation of additional geomagnetic reversals at Mamainse Point and the record of progressively decreasing paleomagnetic inclination that is indicative of rapid paleogeographic change.

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