Paleomagnetism and Ar-40/Ar-39 geochronology of Yemeni Oligocene volcanics: Implications for timing and duration of Afro-Arabian traps and geometry of the Oligocene paleomagnetic field

Peter Riisager, KB Knight, JA Baker, IU Peate, M Al-Kadasi, A Al-Subbary, PR Renne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

A combined paleomagnetic and Ar-40/Ar-39 study was carried out along eight stratigraphically overlapping sections in the Oligocene Afro-Arabian flood volcanic province in Yemen (73 sites). The composite section covers the entire volcanic stratigraphy in the sampling region and represents five polarity zones that are correlated to the geomagnetic polarity time scale based on Ar-40/Ar-39 ages from this and previous studies. The resulting magnetostratigraphy is similar to that of the conjugate margin in Ethiopia. The earliest basaltic volcanism took place in a reverse polarity chron that appears to correspond to C11r, while the massive rhyolitic ignimbrite eruptions correlated to ash layers in Oligocene Indian Ocean sediment 2700 km away from the Afro-Arabian traps, appear to have taken place during magnetochron C11n. The youngest ignimbrite was emplaced during magnetochron C9n. Both 40Ar/39Ar and paleornagnetic data suggest rapid < 1 Ma eruption of the basal basalt units and punctuated eruption of the upper silicic units over a duration potentially as long as 3 Ma with interspersed eruptive hiatuses. Eruption of the basal basalts may have preceded the Oi2 cooling event. The paleornagnetic pole lambda=74.2 degrees N, phi=249.1 degrees E (A95=3.6 degrees; N=48) is supported by a positive reversal test. Paleosecular variation, estimated as the angular standard deviation of the VGP distribution 14.2 degrees+2.3 degrees/-1.7 degrees, is close to expected, suggesting that the paleornagnetic pole represents a time-averaged field. The pole is in excellent accord with the paleornagnetic poles obtained from the Ethiopian part of the Afro-Arabian province, after closure of the Red Sea. By analyzing Afro-Arabian paleomagnetic data in conjunction with contemporaneous paleomagnetic poles available from different latitudes we argue that the Oligocene paleomagnetic field was dominated by the axial dipole with insignificant non-dipole field contributions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-672
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume237
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Geology

Keywords

  • Afro-Arabian traps
  • Yemen
  • Oligocene
  • Ar-40/Ar-39 geochronology
  • paleomagnetic pole
  • magnetostratigraphy
  • large igneous province

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Paleomagnetism and Ar-40/Ar-39 geochronology of Yemeni Oligocene volcanics: Implications for timing and duration of Afro-Arabian traps and geometry of the Oligocene paleomagnetic field'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this