Journal Title

Journal of Geophysical Research

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The paleomagnetism of the ∼147 Ma (Tithonian) Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation was analyzed to obtain a Late Jurassic paleomagnetic pole for North America. A total of 200 samples were collected from 25 sedimentary horizons (sites) at Norwood Hill in southwest Colorado. At Montezuma Creek in southeast Utah, 184 samples were collected from 26 sites. Detailed thermal demagnetization (up to nine temperature steps between 600°C and 680°C) and principal component analysis were required to confidently isolate characteristic remanent magnetization (ChRM) directions carried by hematite. Demagnetization behavior for many horizons is erratic and does not allow isolation of a high unblocking-temperature ChRM. Data selection criteria required sample ChRM directions to be defined by three or more thennal demagnetization steps and maximum angular deviations of sample ChRM directions to be ≤20°. Eight sites from the Norwood Hill location and 10 sites from the Montezuma Creek location passed these criteria. The 18 site-mean virtual geomagnetic poles yield a paleomagnetic pole position from the Brushy Basin Member of 68.3°N, 156.2°E (A95 = 4.8°, K = 53). This pole position is within 2° of the paleomagnetic pole which Steiner and Helsley (1975a) reported for the “upper” Morrison Formation at Norwood Hill, Colorado. A second paleomagnetic pole was calculated after excluding sites with site-mean α95 > 20° and sites with fewer than three samples that passed the above selection criteria. This additional editing did not significantly change the paleomagnetic pole position at the 95% confidence level. Along with other paleomagnetic poles from the continental interior the paleomagnetic data from the Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation are interpreted to indicate that the Late Jurassic part of the North American apparent polar wander path progresses from a late Middle Jurassic (∼160 Ma) position at ∼60°N, 135°E toward the mid-Cretaceous pole position at 72°N, 191°E.


Paleomagnetism; Morrison Formation

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Copyright 1994 American Geophysical Union. The original published version of this article may be found at



Document Type

Journal Article