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Late Triassic-earliest Jurassic geomagnetic polarity sequence and paleolatitudes from drill cores in the Newark rift basin, eastern North America

Kent, Dennis V.; Olsen, Paul E.; Witte, William K.

Paleomagnetic study of about 2400 samples from nearly 7 km of core recovered at seven drill sites in the Newark continental rift basin of eastern North America provides a detailed history of geomagnetic reversals and paleolatitudinal motion for about 30 m.y. of the Late Triassic and earliest Jurassic (Carnian to Hettangian). Northward drift of only about 7° is recorded in the continental sediments and minor interbedded basaltic lavas in the basin, from 2.5° to 6.5° north paleolatitude in the Carnian and from 6.5° to 9.5° north paleolatitude over the Norian-"Rhaetian" and the early Hettangian. A total of 59 polarity intervals, ranging from about 4 m to over 300 m in thickness, have been delineated in a composite stratigraphic section of 4660 m. The lateral continuity and consistent relationship of lithological lake level cycles and magnetozones in the stratigraphically overlapping sections of the drill cores demonstrate their validity as time markers. A geomagnetic polarity timescale was constructed by scaling the composite section assuming that lithostratigraphic members in the predominant lacustrine facies represent the 413-kyr orbital periodicity of Milankovitch climate change and by extrapolating a sedimentation rate for the fluvial facies in the lower part of the section; a 202 Ma age for the palynological Triassic/Jurassic boundary was used to anchor the chronology based on published concordant radiometric dates linked to the earliest Jurassic igneous extrusive zone. Geomagnetic polarity intervals range from about 0.03 to 2 m.y., have a mean duration of about 0.5 m.y., and show no significant polarity bias. The cyclostratigraphically calibrated record provides a reference section for the history of Late Triassic-earliest Jurassic geomagnetic reversals. Correlations are attempted with available magnetostratigraphies from nonmarine sediments from the Chinle Group of the southwestern United States and marine limestones from Turkey.

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Also Published In

Journal of Geophysical Research

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
August 30, 2011