Paleomagnetism of the Carboniferous Rouchel Block, Tamworth Belt, and pole path revision for the New England Orogen, eastern Australia
Structural, magnetic and gravity trends of the southern New England Orogen (SNEO) indicate four oroclinal structures, none conclusively confirmed paleomagnetically. Curved structures of the Tamworth Belt (TB)—a continental forearc exposed across six tectono-stratigraphic blocks with interlinked Carboniferous stratigraphies and extensive ignimbritic rocks known to retain primary magnetisations despite prevalent overprinting—are prospective to oroclinal testing through comparison of Carboniferous pole paths for individual blocks. Pole paths (a) have been established for the Rocky Creek and Werrie blocks (northwestern/western TB), (b) are described herein for the Rouchel Block (southwestern TB), and (c) are forthcoming for the Gresford and Myall blocks (southern/southeastern TB). The Rouchel path derives from detailed paleomagnetic, rock magnetic and magnetic fabric studies. Thermal, alternating field and liquid nitrogen demagnetisations show a low-temperature overprint, attributed to late Oligocene weathering, and high-temperature (HT) primary and overprint components in both magnetite and hematite carriers, showing slight, systematic, directional differences with hematite providing the better cleaned site poles. Seven primary mean-site poles of Tournaisian and mainly Visean age and three overprint poles show six positive fold tests, five at 95% or higher confidence levels. Two dispersed groupings of intermediate (IT) and HT overprint site poles of Permian and Permo-Triassic age are attributed to early and late phases in oroclinal evolution of the SNEO. HT and IT/HT overprint site poles of mid-Carboniferous age are attributed to Variscan Australia–Asia convergence. Individual pole paths for the Rocky Creek, Werrie and Rouchel blocks show no noticeable rotation between them, indicating primary curvature for the southwestern TB. Their integrated SNEO pole path establishes a reference frame for determining rotations of the southern and southeastern TB.