Abstract

Paleomagnetism of the North American Midcontinent Rift provides a robust paleogeographic record of Laurentia (cratonic North America) from ca. 1110 to 1070 Ma, revealing rapid equatorward motion of the continent throughout rift magmatism. Existing age and paleomagnetic constraints on the youngest rift volcanic and sedimentary rocks have been interpreted to record a slowdown of this motion as rifting waned. We present new paleomagnetic and geochronologic data from the ca. 1090–1083 Ma “late-stage” rift volcanic rocks exposed as the Lake Shore Traps (Michigan), the Schroeder-Lutsen basalts (Minnesota), and the Michipicoten Island Formation (Ontario). The paleomagnetic data allow for the development of paleomagnetic poles for the Schroeder-Lutsen basalts (187.8°E, 27.1°N; A95 = 3.0°, N = 50) and the Michipicoten Island Formation (174.7°E, 17.0°N; A95 = 4.4°, N = 23). Temporal constraints on late-stage paleomagnetic poles are provided by high-precision, 206Pb-238U zircon dates from a Lake Shore Traps andesite (1085.57 ± 0.25 Ma; 2σ internal errors), a Michipicoten Island Formation tuff (1084.35 ± 0.20 Ma) and rhyolite (1083.52 ± 0.23 Ma), and a Silver Bay aplitic dike from the Beaver Bay Complex (1091.61 ± 0.14 Ma), which is overlain by the Schroeder-Lutsen basalt flows. These Michipicoten Island Formation dates are the youngest yet obtained from Midcontinent Rift volcanic rocks and indicate that rift magmatism was active for at least 25 m.y. The addition of these late-stage paleomagnetic poles to the Laurentian apparent polar wander path suggests that rapid motion of Laurentia continued throughout the entirety of rift volcanism.

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