Paleogeographic models commonly assume that the supercontinent Rodinia was long-lived, with a static geometry involving Mesoproterozoic links that developed during assembly and persisted until Neoproterozoic rifting. However, Rodinian paleogeography and dynamics of continental separation around its centerpiece, Laurentia, remain poorly constrained. On the western Laurentian margin, geological and geochronological data suggest that breakup did not occur until after 720 Ma. Thus, late Tonian (ca. 780−720 Ma) paleomagnetic data are critical for reconstructing paleogeography prior to dispersal and assessing the proposed stasis of Rodinia. Here, we report new paleomagnetic data from the late Tonian Chuar Group in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. We combined this new data set with reanalyzed existing data to obtain a new paleopole preserved in hematite, the reliability of which is supported by six of the seven (Q1−Q6) Van der Voo reliability quality criteria. In addition, we identified pervasive mid- to high-temperature overprints. This new paleomagnetic pole was incorporated with recent high-precision geochronological data and existing paleomagnetic data to present a new late Tonian Laurentian apparent polar wander path (APWP). Having examined the paleomagnetic data of other cratons, global reconstructions for 775 Ma, 751 Ma, and 716 Ma are presented. These reconstructions are consistent with Australia located near the present southern margin of Laurentia. However, a stringent analysis of the global data set does not support a good match between any major craton and the rifted conjugate margin to western Laurentia. Breakup on the western Laurentian margin may have involved rifting of a continental fragment or a craton with uncertainties in its late Tonian geochronologic and paleomagnetic constraints. Our revised Laurentian APWP will allow for more robust tests of paleogeography and evaluation of the proposed supercontinent Rodinia.
Paleomagnetism of the Chuar Group and evaluation of the late Tonian Laurentian apparent polar wander path with implications for the makeup and breakup of Rodinia
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Athena Eyster, Benjamin P. Weiss, Karl Karlstrom, Francis A. Macdonald; Paleomagnetism of the Chuar Group and evaluation of the late Tonian Laurentian apparent polar wander path with implications for the makeup and breakup of Rodinia. GSA Bulletin doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B32012.1
Download citation file: