Abstract

Two stratigraphic sequences were sampled through the early Anisian Anton Chico Member of the Moenkopi Formation in north-eastern New Mexico. Two polarities of magnetization are present: a normal-polarity interval succeeded by a reversed-polarity interval and followed by a short normal- and reversed-polarity couplet. Detailed thermal demagnetization (10 to 17 steps) was employed to separate magnetic vectors. The secondary magnetization is largely a direction similar to the present-day and/or axial-field directions. Demagnetization above 520°C reveals a near-horizontal characteristic magnetization. The lithology of the stratigraphic sequence is such that the reversed polarity is contained almost exclusively within coarse sandstone lithologies, and hence, the reversed-polarity characteristic magnetization direction is rarely completely separated from the secondary magnetization. Because of this, the paleopole was calculated from only the lower normal-polarity portion of the section. The pole, calculated from the samples of two localities, is located at 121.4°E, 43.2°N, (α95 = 5.3). This Middle Triassic paleopole is in good agreement with published Triassic paleomagnetic poles for cratonic North America and statistically overlaps the Early Triassic paleopoles. The large-scale relative motion during the Triassic between the magnetic pole and the North American plate is constrained by this study to have begun after early Middle Triassic time; it suggests that as much as 10° of apparent-polar wander occurred between the late Anisian-Ladinian (late Middle Triassic) and the middle to late Carnian (early Late Triassic), a time interval of between 11 and 14 m.y.

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