New magnetostratigraphy and paleopole from the Whitmore Point Member of the Moenave Formation at Kanab, Utah



The entire Whitmore Point Member of the Moenave Formation was sampled in close stratigraphic sequence (+0.3 m) from a vertical exposure in southwestern Utah. The polarity sequence in the Whitmore Point Member is essentially normal polarity, with five or more very short reversed intervals interspersed and a <1 m reversed interval at the top of the sequence. This polarity pattern dates the Whitmore Point Member as Hettangian. In the earliest Jurassic, the North American plate rotated even further westward from its Late Triassic position, and the movement appears to have been accompanied by an abrupt increase in plate motion because of the similarity in position of many Late Triassic paleopoles. The Moenave pole forms the ‘J-1 cusp’ of the North American apparent polar wander curve. The paleopole obtained by this study is somewhat further westward than those of previous studies. Within the 27 m of a mostly normal polarity sequence, the data show multiple, exceedingly short polarity intervals. The magnetization carrier is a maghemite-magnetite mineral, with the magnetization of an additional hematite carrier superposed. The lithostratigraphic sequence of the Moenave Formation is terminated by an unconformable surface, overlain by the Springdale Sandstone. Paleomagnetic directions of the Whitmore Point Member are exceedingly similar to those of the overlying Springdale Sandstone. Even though the two lithologic bodies are separated by a clear disconformity, the similarity in pole positions suggests that the two are closely related in time. It is possible that this disconformity represents the termination of the westward excursion of North America in earliest Jurassic time.


Hettangian magnetostratigraphy; Moenave Formation; normal polarity; paleopole; J-1 cusp; North America apparent polar wander curve

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