Abstract

A palaeomagnetic study and age determinations have been performed on Ediacaran basalts from the northwestern Ukraine. Whole-rock 40Ar/39Ar age determination revealed plateau ages at 590–560 Ma and 393 Ma, the latter probably reflecting a resetting of the radiometric system. Palaeomagnetic poles have been calculated from five basalt flows, two of which (A poles) are considered reliable with ages that range from 580 to 560 Ma. Tentative poles (B poles), calculated from most probably primary magnetizations, have ages estimated at 580–545 Ma. Secondary magnetizations, possibly of late Ediacaran or Devonian age, have also been isolated (C poles). Based on the new poles, Baltica drifted together with Laurentia from an equatorial position at c. 750 Ma to occupy high southern latitude positions at c. 580 Ma. Baltica during that time period was joined to Laurentia in a similar relative position to that at 750 Ma. The two shields then split up from each other and from c. 550 Ma Baltica drifted at moderately high latitudes and rotated some 180° during the final opening of the Iapetus ocean. This reconstruction suggests that during the Ediacaran glaciation Baltica occupied high-latitude positions, which contradicts the high-obliquity model to explain low-latitude Neoproterozoic glaciations.

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