Large paleomagnetic declination anomalies in the Cerro Nevado (Snow Hill) Island, Antarctic Peninsula: evidence of hidden tectonic rotations?

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Florencia Milanese
Augusto Rapalini
Leandro Gallo
Pablo Franceschinis
Joseph Kirschvink


We report anomalous paleomagnetic directions obtained in magnetostratigraphic studies carried out on Cretaceous marine sedimentary rocks of the Marambio Group, southeast James Ross Basin, at the Sanctuary Cliffs Nunatak and the Spath Peninsula, located in the Cerro Nevado (Snow Hill) Island. Data quality and field tests suggest a primary origin of the magnetization, ruling out the possibility that directions have been affected by alteration or remagnetization processes related to the Miocene magmatism of the James Ross Island Volcanic Group. A counterclockwise tectonic rotation of 47.9°±20.0° of the whole Cerro Nevado Island can account for the paleomagnetic declination anomaly. The bedding of the Cretaceous units at and near the sampling localities show similar directional variations that those observed in paleomagnetic declinations, consistent with such interpretation. However, geological continuity between the exposed units at Marambio Island and the Spath Peninsula, the variable bedding strikes at different localities in the Cerro Nevado Island, plus geometric considerations strongly constrain any rigid body counterclockwise rotation of the whole island to a maximum of about 10°, around a vertical axis located close to the Picnic Passage (~64.4°S, 56.9°W). This indicates that most, if not all, of the hypothetical rotations suggested by the paleomagnetic data must occurred during the Eocene, before tectonic tilting of the Cretaceous units. This needs to be tested with new detailed structural and paleomagnetic studies at different localities along the Cerro Nevado Island as well as with geophysical surveys along the island and its marine surroundings.

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Milanese, F., Rapalini, A., Gallo, L., Franceschinis, P., & Kirschvink, J. . (2020). Large paleomagnetic declination anomalies in the Cerro Nevado (Snow Hill) Island, Antarctic Peninsula: evidence of hidden tectonic rotations?. Revista De La Asociación Geológica Argentina, 77(2), 192-206. Recuperado a partir de


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