Abstract

The analytical results of a total of 205 metabasic specimens from 10 palaeomagnetic sites collected from Oscar II Land in Western Spitsbergen are presented. Petrographic, structural and palaeomagnetic data all demonstrate that the pre-Caledonian ferromagnetic fabric of the metabasic rocks has been extensively reoriented and intensively remineralized. New in situ laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry 40Ar/39Ar age determinations suggest that the host rocks have been subject to three resetting events during the 426 – 380 Ma (Caledonian sensu lato), 377 – 326 Ma and c. 300 Ma intervals. The latter two resetting events coincide in time with the Barents Shelf-wide rift-controlled subsidence events. The derived palaeomagnetic data do not fall on the expected apparent polar wander path of Laurussia for syn- to post-Caledonian time. Consequently, four models invoking palaeogeographical great and small circle rotations, regional tectonism involving thrusting and normal listric faulting have been investigated to account for this lack of correspondence. The palaeomagnetic data do not lend support to reconstructions linking Western Svalbard with Pearya but point instead to the importance of listric faulting related to the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean that modified the geometry of the West Spitsbergen Fold and Thrust Belt.

Supplementary material: (1) Field characteristics of metabasic sites, (2) detailed description of applied rock magnetic and palaeomagnetic procedures, (3) microscopic images of investigated geochronological samples, (4) in situ LA-ICP-MS 40Ar/39Ar isotopic age determination results, (5) microscopic, SEM and BSE images of investigated metabasites, and (6) anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3673924.

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