When Did Midcontinent Rift Volcanism End and Where Was Laurentia at that Time?
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Data from the North American Midcontinent Rift provide a robust record of Laurentia's (cratonic North America's) paleogeographic position from ca. 1110 to 1080 Ma. The resulting apparent polar wander path (APWP) reveals rapid motion of the continent towards the equator throughout the rift's lifetime. Constraints on the age of the youngest volcanics within the rift and on the paleolatitude of Laurentia at that time are important for quantifying the rate of this motion and its apparent deceleration in the late stage of rift development. Furthermore, precise calibration of the APWP enhances the robustness of paleogeographic reconstructions. The three rift successions with ca. 1090 to 1085 Ma late stage volcanics are the Lake Shore Traps of Michigan, the Michipicoten Island Formation of Ontario and the Schroeder-Lutsen basalts of Minnesota. In past studies, paleomagnetic data from the Schroeder-Lutsen basalts have been grouped with results from the North Shore Volcanic Group, which it unconformably overlies. In this study, we separate these data and add newly developed results from 40 additional flows. New data from the Michipicoten Island Formation allow for a well constrained pole that now includes data from more than 25 flows. High quality paleomagnetic data are published for the Lake Shore Traps, and we complement these with a newly developed high precision U-Pb zircon date as an update to current constraints. Taken altogether, these data strengthen our understanding of the rift's demise and the rate of Laurentia's motion as rift volcanism gave way to post-rift sedimentation.