Remagnetization and folding in the frontal Montana Rocky Mountains


Samantha R Nemkin, David Lageson, Ben van der Pluijm, Rob Van der Voo




Local-scale folds within the Mississippian Madison Group of the frontal Montana Rockies preserve pre- and synfolding remagnetization data. Paleomagnetic results display inclinations of approximately 70 degrees , in contrast to the expected shallower directions for North American Mississippian rocks. The magnetization is chemical in origin, preserved in superparamagnetic to single-domain magnetite grains from fluid activity. Magnetic intensity results in the study area suggest that mineralization was more prevalent in the interior of the fold-and-thrust belt and diminished toward the east, resulting in lower intensities from less magnetite growth in the very frontal portions of the belt into the foreland. Fold test results of individual folds show syn- and prefolding remagnetizations as a function of location across the belt, with synfolding results in more westerly locations and prefolding results in the most frontal folds of the belt. By comparing our synfolding results with previously determined deformation ages for the Rocky Mountains, an Eocene (53.6 Ma) age for the remagnetization can be assigned. Based on the relative timing of remagnetization, a spatial pattern of folding in the study area is revealed. Major folding commenced (i.e., synfolding magnetization) during an Eocene remagnetization event, while the most frontal portion remained undeformed (i.e., prefolding magnetization) and was subsequently folded after regional remagnetization.



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