SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

The Vendian/Cambrian segment of the Lauretian apparent polar wander path (APWP) has been poorly constrained and the subject of some controversy. The Catoctin volcanic province in central Virginia is well-dated at 570±35 Ma (Rb-Sr) and 597±18 Ma (U-Pb) and therefore presented an excellent paleomagnetic target for resolving the Laurentian Vendian-Cambrian APWP. A total of 206 samples from 32 sites were collected from the Catoctin basalts, feeder dikes and sills. The study revealed three ancient directions of magnetization. The youngest, C component, fails the fold test and yielded a characteristic in situ direction of D = 147°, I = +44° (k = 21, α95 = 9°). The corresponding paleopole falls along the Middle Ordovician segment of the Laurentian APWP and we consider this component to be the result of a Taconic remagnetization. The second component, the B component, is carried by hematite, exhibits dual-polarities and passes a fold test. The tilt-corrected B component characteristic direction is D = 92°, I = +17° (k = 16, α95 = 13°). The corresponding paleopole at 4°S, 193°E falls near a well-established Late Cambrian (505 Ma) pole for Laurentia, and we consider this component to be a remagnetization during a Late Cambrian tectonic event in the central Appalachians. The third component isolated in the Catoctin basalts, the A component, yields a tilt-corrected mean of D = 68°, I = +84° (k = 59, α95 = 9°). This component passes a fold and reversal test. A suite of samples was collected from two Catoctin feeder dikes and surrounding country rocks that yield a positive baked contact test. The A pole at 43°S, 128°E falls significantly away from previously proposed Vendian poles for Laurentia. A reevaluation of previous paleomagnetic studies from coeval rock units reveals similarly steep directions and leads us to propose a new APWP. This new APW track indicates that Laurentia was located near the pole during the interval 615–580 Ma and drifted rapidly (16 cm yr−1) toward its Late Cambrian equatorial position.