Abstract

The Carboniferous Limestone of the Craven Basin (northern England) gives a mean pole position of 40°N, 147°E which confirms the palaeolatitude of Britian relative to other continents at this time. A polarity scale has been constructed for the lower Carboniferous using the Avonian zonal scheme as a basis. The geomagnetic field was mostly reversed in lower Carboniferous times although brief periods normal polarity were not uncommon, particularly in mid-Viséan times.

The evidence for a world-wide polar transition during the Carboniferous has been assessed and found to rest critically on the original evidence from Australia and Africa. The newer European and North American data are best explained in terms of a slow average motion of these two continents relative to the palaeomagnetic pole. They are shown to be mainly in low latitudes but to be rotating slowly clockwise with their southern edges in essentially equatorial locations for most of the Carboniferous.

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