Paleomagnetism of Leg 115 Sediments: Implications for Neogene Magnetostratigraphy and Paleolatitude of the Réunion Hotspot

Schneider, David A.; Kent, Dennis V.

Ocean Drilling Program Leg 115 was designed to study Neogene sedimentation history in the western Indian Ocean Basin as well as the Cenozoic evolution of the Reunion hotspot. We describe the paleomagnetic analysis of the sediments recovered on this leg, focusing on the sites that provided the most readily interpretable data: Sites 706, 709, 710, and 711. Sediments from Site 706 show no reversals but appear to give a reliable reversed polarity primary direction, judged on the basis of the demagnetization behavior of individual samples as well as from the results of a fold test formulated by comparing the two holes drilled at this site. Magnetic polarity stratigraphy in sediments from Site 709 can be deduced in two limited sections of Pliocene-Pleistocene and Oligocene-Miocene age. Sediments recovered at Site 710 (and, to a lesser extent, Site 711) render a relatively continuous magnetic polarity stratigraphy that spans most of the Neogene and adds significantly to the body of data available to address problems in Miocene geochronology. In addition to these magnetostratigraphic results, the paleomagnetism of these sediments can be used to determine paleolatitude. Using the most reliable inclination measurements from Sites 706, 710, and 711, we compared paleomagnetic estimates of paleolatitude with estimates derived from a hotspot-based absolute plate motion model. Our data, which covers the interval since 33 Ma, shows that paleolatitudes calculated with the geocentric axial dipole assumption are in general accord with the hotspot predictions. However, a correction for the long-term nondipole field brings the paleomagnetic results into even better agreement with plate motions that are based on the fixity of African hotspots.

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Also Published In

Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program: Scientific Results

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
August 3, 2011