Recent paleomagnetic work has highlighted a common and shallow inclination bias in continental redbeds. The Permian and Triassic paleomagnetic records from Laurentia are almost entirely derived from such sedimentary rocks, so a pervasive inclination error will expectedly bias the apparent polar wander path of Laurentia in a significant way. The long-standing discrepancy between the apparent polar wander paths of Laurentia and Gondwana in Permian and Triassic time may be a consequence of such a widespread data-pathology. Here we present new Middle Permian paleomagnetic data from igneous rocks and a contact metamorphosed limestone from cratonic Laurentia. The exclusively reversed Middle Permian magnetization is hosted by low-Ti titanomagnetite and pyrrhotite and yields a paleomagnetic pole at 56.3°S, 302.9°E (A95=3.8, N=6). This pole, which is unaffected by inclination shallowing, suggests that a shallow inclination bias may indeed be present in the Laurentian records. To further consider this hypothesis, we conduct a virtual geomagnetic pole distribution analysis, comparing theoretical expectations of a statistical field model (TK03.GAD) against published data-sets. This exercise provides independent evidence that the Laurentian paleomagnetic data is widely biased, likely because of sedimentary inclination shallowing. We estimate the magnitude of this error from our model results and present and discuss several alternative corrections.
- Inclination shallowing
- Laurentian apparent polar wander path
- Paleomagnetism applied to tectonics
- Virtual geomagnetic pole distributions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth-Surface Processes