Abstract

The controversial late Ediacaran to Cambrian paleogeography is largely due to the paucity and low reliability of available paleomagnetic poles. Baltica is a prime example of these issues. Previously published paleomagnetic results from a thick clastic sedimentary pile in the White Sea region (northern Russia) provided valuable Ediacaran paleontological and paleomagnetic data. Until recently, Cambrian-age rocks in northern Russia were known mostly from boreholes or a few small outcrops. A recent mining operation in the Winter Coast region exposed >60 m of red sandstone and siltstone of the Cambrian Brusov Formation from the walls of a diamond pit. Paleomagnetic data from these rocks yield two major components. (1) A single-polarity A component is isolated in ∼90% of samples between 200 and 650 °C. The corresponding pole (Pole Latitutde, Plat = 20°S; Pole Longitude, Plong = 227°E, α95 = 7°) agrees with the Early Ordovician reference pole for Baltica. (2) A dual-polarity B component is identified in ∼33% of samples, mostly via remagnetization circles, isolated from samples above 650 °C. The corresponding pole (Plat = 12°S; Plong = 108°E, α95 = 5°) is close to other late Ediacaran data but far from all younger reference poles for Baltica.

We argue for a primary magnetization for the B component and the secondary origin of the other Cambrian poles from Baltica. This in turn requires a major reshuffling of all continents and blocks around the North Atlantic. The early stages of Eurasia amalgamation and models for the evolution of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt require revision.

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