Abstract

A discontinuous record of late Eocene-Oligocene geomagnetic polarity has been determined using high-precision (±<0.15 m.y.) 40Ar/39Ar sanidine dating and a paleomagnetic study of 37-27 Ma ignimbrites in New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. This record provides age control for several geomagnetic polarity reversals that occurred during three periods of intense ignimbrite volcanism: 36.8-33.5 Ma, 32.7-31.4 Ma, 29.1-26.9 Ma. The relative timing of these polarity reversals permits four possible correlations with the geomagnetic polarity time scale (GPTS). The preferred correlation yields calibration ages for Chron C10R (28.0-29.0 Ma) and Chron C13R (34.4-33.1 Ma) that indicate an Eocene-Oligocene boundary age near 33.4 Ma, some 0.3-0.6 m.y. younger than boundary ages indicated by other recently proposed GPTS calibrations based on terrestrial and marine sedimentary sequences.

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