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Paleomagnetic determination of paleolatitude and rotation of Bering Island (Komandorsky Islands) Russia: comparison with rotations in the Aleutian Islands and Kamchatka

Author(s): P. S. Minyuk | D. B. Stone

Journal: Stephan Mueller Special Publication Series
ISSN 1868-4556

Volume: 4;
Start page: 329;
Date: 2009;
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A paleomagnetic study was carried out on Paleogene sedimentary rocks from Bering Island, Komandorsky islands, located at the far western end of the Aleutian Island Arc. The age of these sediments has been debated at length, but the combination of magnetostratigraphy with the fossil record indicates that the base of the section is of early Eocene (approximately 55 Ma) and the top latest Eocene age. Paleomagnetic data were obtained from 260 samples from 60 individual bedding units. The combined data show a clockwise rotation R=26.3°±8.5°, F=8.1°±2.5° with respect to the North American Plate and R=38°±8.8°, F=8.7°±2.7° with respect to the Eurasian Plate. They also show a shallowing of the inclination which yields a paleolatitude of 53°, 12° south of its expected latitude. The shallowing may have a component due to compaction, but the wide variation in sampled lithologies, combined with internal consistency of the data set, would argue against the shallowing being significant. To compare these data with other Aleutian Arc data we compiled a comprehensive survey of all available data sets. Out of these we selected four islands for which the data passed basic reliability criteria, namely Umnak, Amlia, Amchitka and Medny islands. All four showed significant clockwise rotation with respect to both North American and Eurasian polar wander paths. Several mechanisms can generate the observed rotation, ranging from block rotation driven by oblique relative motion of the Pacific plate, through lateral transport along the curve of the arc, to whole-arc rotation about its eastern end. The distribution and age spread of the rotation data are insufficient to discriminate between mechanisms, but it seems likely that different mechanism may have operated at different times and in different locations.
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