Abstract

A large-scale palaeomagnetic study (125 specimens from 88 sampling localities) has been carried out on the Whin Sill complex and its associated dykes in northern England. The dominant carrier of remanent magnetization of the doleritic rocks is relatively pure magnetite of pseudo-single domain size, and the characteristic remanent magnetizations are typically well defined and unidirectional. Regionally consistent palaeomagnetic directions are obtained from three geographically distinct parts of the Whin Sill complex, here named as the Holy Island Sill (Declination/Inclination (D/I)=189.5/−2.8, α95=6.3), the Alnwick Sill (D/I=194.6/−25.6, α95=8.1) and the Hadrian's Wall–Pennines Sill (D/I=189.2/3.3, α95=3.5). Although the Holy Island Sill and the Hadrian's Wall–Pennines Sill are of similar age (c. 296 Ma) and indistinguishable on palaeomagnetic grounds, the difference in palaeomagnetic directions between them and the Alnwick Sill demonstrates the multi-component nature of the complex; magma-flow indicators suggest that the Holy Island Sill and the Hadrian's Wall–Pennines Sill may also represent separate intrusion events. Dykes local to the three sills have remanence directions corresponding to their respective sills and can tentatively be identified as their feeder dykes. Virtual geomagnetic poles for the three palaeomagnetic sites are: Holy Island Sill and Holy Island Dyke, 346.8E, 35.4S; Alnwick Sill, High Green Dyke and St. Oswald's Chapel Dyke, 337.1E, 47.1S; Hadrian's Wall–Pennines Sill and Hett Dyke, 347.1E, 32.9S.

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