Abstract

In the course of correlating three sets of Mesozoic magnetic lineations in the western Pacific (the Phoenix, Japanese, and Hawaiian lineations), Larson and Chase (1972) determined a paleomagnetic pole for the Pacific plate for the Early Cretaceous. Using this pole we have derived a magnetic reversal model for the Hawaiian lineation set. We then have used this model to correlate the entire Hawaiian lineation set to the entire Keathley lineation set in the western North Atlantic. On the basis of these correlations and drill holes associated with the lineation patterns, we have extended the geomagnetic reversal time scale back to the base of the Late Jurassic (162 m.y. B.P.). A period of reversals occurred corresponding to the Hawaiian and Keathley lineations from 150 o t 110 m.y. B.P., and these reversals are bracketed by long periods of dominantly normal polarity (the Cretaceous and Jurassic magnetic quiet zones).

This magnetic reversal time scale significantly alters previous notions of the timing and origin of sea-floor spreading features in the Atlantic Ocean. It implies that the Bay of Biscay opened sometime during the interval between 150 and 110 m.y. B.P.; that drift in the South Atlantic was initiated at sometime during the interval from 110 to 85 m.y. B.P. (probably close to 110 m.y. B.P.); and that the seaward portion of the marginal quiet zones of the eastern United States and northwestern Africa resulted from sea-floor spreading during the Late Jurassic period of dominantly normal magnetic polarity prior to 150 m.y. B.P.

In the Pacific during the late Mesozoic, spreading was occurring from at least five spreading centers joined at two triple points. The vast majority of the Pacific Basin today is occupied by only the Pacific-plate side of these spreading patterns. This implies that an area equal to most of the Pacific Basin has been subducted beneath the surrounding continents since the Early Cretaceous. Our magnetic reversal time scale calls for a rapid pulse of spreading from about 110 to 85 m.y. B.P. at all the spreading centers in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This implies a pulse of rapid subduction around the rim of the Pacific that we relate to episodes of large-scale plutonism in eastern Asia, western Antarctica, New Zealand, the southern Andes, and western North America during the Late Cretaceous.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.