The voluminous volcanic eruptions in the Nauru Basin, Western Pacific, have long been regarded as important research targets for tectonic history of the Pacific Plate and for the widespread Cretaceous volcanic activity in the Western Pacific. The Nauru Basin volcanic rocks were recovered at Site 462 by Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Legs 61 and 89, where more than 600 m of lavas and sills were drilled, thereby making it the deepest penetration into crust of Cretaceous age in the Pacific Ocean. For paleomagnetism, this section represents a unique possibility for averaging out secular variation to obtain a reliable paleolatitude estimate. However, previous paleomagnetic studies have only been subjected to alternating field (AF) demagnetization on several core samples, thus, unable to provide comprehensive understanding on the paleolatitude of the basin. The work reported here aims to determine the Cretaceous paleomagnetic paleolatitude for the Pacific Plate and define the magnetostratigraphy for the basaltic sections drilled in the Nauru Basin. A total of 391 basaltic rock samples were carefully re-sampled from DSDP Sites 462 and 462A. Stepwise thermal and AF demagnetizations have isolated characteristic components in the majority of the samples. The most important findings from this study include: (1) Two normal and one reversed polarity intervals are identified in Site 462, and six normal and six reversed polarity intervals are found in Site 462A, although possible erroneous markings of the opposite azimuth for some reversed polarity cores during the DSDP coring cannot be completely ruled out. (2) Based on previous radiometric ages, the magnetostratigraphic correlations with the Geomagnetic Polarity Time Scale (GPTS) indicate that the lower-basaltic flow unit in Site 462A began to erupt at least before 130 Ma. No correlation is available for the upper-sill unit. (3) Paleosecular variation for the lower-flow unit has been sufficiently averaged out; whereas bias may exist for that of the upper-sill unit; (4) The calculated mean inclination of ∼ - 50° for the lower-flow unit yields a paleolatitude of 30.8°S for the Nauru Basin at the time of emplacement. This value is well to the north of suggested location in plate reconstruction models, suggesting that there has been a significant amount of apparent polar wander of the Nauru Basin and Pacific plate since 130 Ma. In addition, the paleolatitude for the Nauru Basin is ∼ 7° further south and the basin's age is more than 10 my older than those of the Ontong Java Plateau (OJP), which suggest that the volcanic eruptions of the lower flows in the Nauru Basin are unlikely related to the emplacement of the Ontong Java Plateau.
- Programområde 4: Mineralske råstoffer