Differential rotations in the Oman Ophiolite: paleomagnetic evidence from the southern massifs

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New paleomagnetic data from 11 sites in layered gabbros and lava flows from the Oman Ophiolite indicate stable, early remagnetizations and suggest that the southern portion of the ophiolite (the Wadi Tayin, Sumail, Nakhl-Rustaq and Haylayn massifs) is relatively unrotated since detachment near the paleoridge. The gabbros possess a magnetization carried by a combination of primary and secondary magnetites derived from hydrothermal alteration. Evidence from positive tilt tests, constancy of remanence directions in differing magnetic mineralogies and agreement with previous paleomagnetic data, however, suggests that this remagnetization was acquired early – analogous to the remagnetization of the V2 volcanic series. Thus, the evidence implies that the southern portion of the ophiolite has been primarily translated from the paleoridge since the time of V2 remagnetization, and 120° of clockwise rotation affecting the northern Oman Ophiolite is internal to the ophiolite, rather than a combination of internal and global rotation as previously hypothesized. Given this evidence, we propose a simplified model of a rapid, active microplate rotation of a portion of the ophiolite resulting from spreading at an EPR-type propagating ridge at a high angle to the previous spreading direction. Paleomagnetic data from this and previous studies can be well explained by a rapidly rotating microplate, similar to the kinematic evolution documented for the Juan Fernandez microplate in the modern setting.

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