The Early Carboniferous paleomagnetic field of North America and its bearing on tectonics of the Northern Appalachians

Dennis V. Kent, Neil D. Opdyke

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We have obtained additional evidence for the Early Carboniferous paleomagnetic field for cratonic North America from study of the Barnett Formation of central Texas. A characteristic magnetization of this unit was isolated after thermal demagnetization at four sites (36 samples) out of eight sites (65 samples) collected. The mean direction of declination = 156.3°, inclination = 5.8° (N = 4, k = 905, α95 = 3.0°), corresponds to a paleomagnetic pole position at lat. = 49.1°N,long. = 119.3°E (dp = 1.5°, dm = 3.0°). Field evidence suggests that characteristic magnetization was acquired very early in the history of the rock unit whereas the rejected sites are comprised of weakly magnetized limestones dominated by secondary components near the present-day field direction. Comparison of the Barnett pole with other Early Carboniferous (Mississippian) paleopoles from North America shows that it lies close to the apparent polar wander path for stable North America and that the divergence of paleopoles from the Northern Appalachians noted previously for the Devonian persisted into the Early Carboniferous. We interpret this difference in paleopoles as further evidence for the Northern Appalachian displaced terrain which we refer to here as Acadia, and the apparent coherence of Late Carboniferous paleopoles as indicating a large (∼1500 km) motion of Acadia with respect to stable North America over a rather short time interval in the Carboniferous.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-372
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1979
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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