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Palaeomagnetism of silurian lavas of Somerset and Gloucestershire, England

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0012-821x(75)90253-8
  • Earth Science


Abstract Detailed alternating field demagnetisation of Upper Llandovery volcanics of the Mendip Hills and Gloucestershire has isolated remanence directions interpreted as primary from each of five sites. Well-defined high-coercivity secondary magnetisation is present in six samples of one site and low-coercivity secondary remanence is present in all samples from another site; the former component was apparently acquired in Permo-Triassic times. Primary directions of magnetisation show marked improvement in precision after correction for penecontemporaneous folding, and show a late Llandovery reversal in the sense R → N. The group mean directions of magnetisation is D = 243.5°, I = 47.5° (precision parameter k = 29). Petrographic examination confirms observations from magnetic properties that relict titanomagnetite (oxidation classes 3 to 5) is the remanence carrier in most samples. Hematite, probably mostly late magmatic in origin, is widely developed in all samples, but only the principal remanence carrier where it has thoroughly replaced the titanomagnetite. Low-coercivity remanence is apparently caused by weathering effects but there is no clear visible cause for secondary high-coercivity remanence carried by some samples. The mean virtual geomagnetic pole position is close to Upper Silurian/Lower Devonian pole positions from other parts of Britain and defines a minimum apparent polar shift of 60° between late Ordovician and Upper Llandovery times. Reference to absolute age dates suggests that this shift took place between ca. 447 and 434 m.y. followed by slight polar movement between ca. 434 and 394 m.y.

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