Age and paleomagnetism of the 1210 Ma Gnowangerup–Fraser dyke swarm, Western Australia, and implications for late Mesoproterozoic paleogeography
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Dolerite dykes of the Gnowangerup–Fraser Dyke Suite are subparallel to the southern and southeastern margins of the Yilgarn Craton. We collected oriented samples for paleomagnetic study from 19 dykes along the Phillips and Fitzgerald Rivers and north of Ravensthorpe. Alternating-field (AF) demagnetization revealed a stable two-polarity remanence in 14 dykes, and the primary nature of the magnetic directions is supported by a positive baked-contact test and by rock-magnetic evidence. U–Pb zircon and baddeleyite ages for two dykes confirm that the Gnowangerup–Fraser dykes are part of the 1210 Ma Marnda Moorn Large Igneous Province. The mean paleomagnetic pole, at 55.8° N, 323.9° E, A95 = 6.5°, is almost identical to the previously reported VGP of the 1212 Ma Fraser dyke, also supported by a positive baked-contact test. The combined robust paleopole places the West Australian Craton in a near-polar position at 1210 Ma. Comparison with coeval Laurentian paleopoles indicates that Laurentia and Australia were widely separated at that time. We present a paleomagnetically permissible drift model for these two continents between 1210 and 1070 Ma. One dyke yields a stable remanence with a VGP similar to the paleopole for the 755 Ma Mundine Well dykes indicating that this dyke may have been emplaced during the same event at c. 755 Ma. Differences in lengths and shapes of late Mesoproterozoic Apparent Polar Wander Paths of several continents suggests that a large supercontinent did not exist between about 1300 and 1050 Ma. This may have been a transitional time between the final breakup of Nuna and the assembly of Rodinia.
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