Abstract

Magnetic polarity data from the Maritimes Basin in eastern Canada reveal patterns of magnetic reversal through ∼17 m.y. of late Mississippian and early Pennsylvanian time. We collected samples from three sections on Cape Breton Island, a fourth that extends a section studied previously, and a fifth from a deep cored well on Prince Edward Island. We compared the polarity data from these sections to previous results from lower parts of the Joggins section of eastern Canada. All sections are constrained by new palynological data and collectively span the late Mississippian, Brigantian, Pendleian, and much of the Arnsbergian substages. A major unconformity at the Pennsylvanian-Mississippian boundary makes correlation difficult. The late Mississippian Arnsbergian substage is dominated by normal polarity, whereas the Pendleian and Brigantian are characterized by normal and reversed polarity intervals in about equal proportions. In the United States, the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian boundary is a major hiatus that juxtaposes strata of early Pennsylvanian age on Mississippian strata ranging in age from Brigantian to mid- to late Arnsbergian. Data for the Mauch Chunk Formation in the United States provide polarity reversal patterns for correlative sequences in the Central Appalachian Basin. Field mapping and magnetic polarity data show closely comparable Mississippian-Pennsylvanian relationships in the Maritimes Basin more than 1500 km northeast from the U.S. sections. The eustatic event that coincides with the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian boundary unconformity is late Arnsbergian to Yeadonian in both the central Appalachians and Maritime Basins. Basal Pennsylvanian strata of Yeadonian to Langsettian age on Cape Breton Island reveal normal paleomagnetic polarity through several hundred meters of section. These strata are overlain by a thick section showing only reversed polarity. We believe that this polarity boundary is the base of the Kiaman. An early Langsettian position (ca. 318 Ma) for the base-Kiaman superchron is indicated by these new data. In eastern Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the sedimentary rocks just above the unconformity are of reversed polarity. It is clear that the sedimentation in the two areas is affected by the unconformity, and no magnetic or palynological correlation is possible. Above the unconformity, only saetosa zone sediments are present.

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