Extending the Cantabrian Orocline to two continents (Gondwana and Laurussia). Paleomagnetism from South Ireland.


Regional Variscan structure in southern Ireland follows a gentle arcuate trend of ca. 25° concave to the SE that apparently follows the geometry of the Cantabrian Orocline (NW Iberia) when Iberia is restored to its position prior to the opening of the Biscay Bay. We report paleomagnetic results from Devonian and Carboniferous rocks in southern Ireland: (i) a pervasive and consistent remagnetization during the Late Carboniferous and (ii) an average rotation of ∼25° counterclockwise with respect to the Global Apparent Polar Wander Path and kinematically compatible with the Cantabrian Orocline. These results support the participation of Laurussia in the formation of the Cantabrian Orocline involving, at least, southern Ireland and the South Portuguese Zone (S Iberia). We conclude that a Greater Cantabrian Orocline extends beyond its current boundaries to include shear zones in the Variscan hinterland and the Rheic Ocean suture, thereby enlarging its size to plate-scale affecting as it does the Laurussia and Gondwana margins.

Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 432, pp.223-231, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.10.019