Upper Permian magnetic stratigraphy of the lower Beaufort Group, Karoo Basin

L. Lanci, Eric Tohver, A.E. Wilson, S.S. Flint

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    Abstract

    We carried out a magnetostratigraphic and geochronological study of late Permian sediments in the Karoo Basin of the Western Cape Province, South Africa. A continuous, ~700. m thick section of deltaic sediments of the upper Waterford Formation (uppermost Ecca Group) and the fluvial sediments of the Abrahamskraal Formation (lowermost Beaufort Group) were sampled at the meter scale. U-Pb dating of zircons from interbedded volcanic ash beds by ion microprobe (SHRIMP) provided absolute age constraints on the age of the sedimentary rocks. Paleomagnetic analysis reveals a partial overprint of the Natural Remanent Magnetization (NRM) that is tentatively ascribed to the emplacement of the Karoo Large Igneous Province in the Western Cape region during the middle Jurassic. A stable component of the NRM was found at temperatures higher than 450. °C and was interpreted as a Characteristic Remanent Magnetization (ChRM) acquired during deposition, supported by a positive reversals test for this dual polarity ChRM. The virtual geomagnetic pole position for the Waterford and Abrahamskraal Formations computed from the average ChRM direction is in general agreement with the late Permian directions for stable Gondwana. A significantly different average inclination, and thus paleomagnetic pole position, is obtained by correcting the inclination shallowing error by the Elongation-Inclination method (Tauxe and Kent, 2004). The presence of both normal and reversed polarity zones indicate deposition after the end of the Kiaman Superchron, moreover the polarity sequence is in good agreement with the Illawarra sequence of Steiner (2006). Our results indicate a Capitanian (late Guadalupian) age for the Abrahamskraal Fm., in agreement with the Late Permian age, based on presence of Glossopteris flora and Dicynodont fauna, traditionally assigned to the fluvial-lacustrine sediments of the Beaufort Group. However, the U-Pb zircon ages of ca. 264-268. Ma suggest an age of 269. Ma for the top of the Kiaman superchron. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-134
    JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
    Volume375
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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