Abstract

In shales of the Mid-Proterozoic Newland Formation, magnetic fabrics can be used as indicators of paleoflow direction. The long axis of the anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) ellipsoid parallels paleoflow and is inclined in the upcurrent direction (Schieber and Ellwood 1988). To apply the AMS paleocurrent method to shales on a basinwide scale, oriented samples from the two members of the Newland Formation and its lateral equivalents were collected over the entire southeastern Belt basin. For the lower member of the Newland Formation the data show a parallel-bipolar and north-south-oriented paleoflow pattern. The pattern for the upper member of the Newland Formation is more complex: it indicates the presence of a northern and southern shoreline from where sediment is transferred deeper into the basin (parallel-unimodal pattern), as well as a central zone of overlap with a parallel bipolar pattern. The results of the study show that AMS-based paleocurrent patterns support paleogeographic reconstructions based on stratigraphic and sedimentologic studies, and that tectonic deformation did not significantly alter primary fabrics. In the upper member of the Newland Formation, shore-normal vs. shore-oblique sediment transport for sandy and muddy storm deposits, respectively, is in agreement with a recently proposed depositional model for storm deposits (Duke et al. 1991).

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