Paleomagnetic results from Early Proterozoic metabasite sills and Middle Proterozoic diabase dikes from the southern Highland Mountains of southwestern Montana give well-defined, dual-polarity magnetizations that are statistically identical to those from a small Late Cretaceous pluton that cuts the dikes. The concordance of paleomagnetic directions from rocks of three widely separated ages indicates that the Proterozoic rocks were remagnetized, probably during Late Cretaceous time. Paleomagnetic, rock magnetic, and petrographic observations from the metabasite and diabase samples indicate that remanence is carried primarily by low-Ti magnetite. Combining virtual geomagnetic poles from metabasite sills, diabase dikes, and the Late Cretaceous pluton, we obtain a paleomagnetic pole at 85.5??N, 310.7??E (K = 19.9, A95 = 9.1??, N = 14 sites) that is similar to a reference pole from the 74 Ma Adel Mountain Volcanics of western Montana. Biotite and hornblende 40Ar/39Ar isotopic dates from host basement geneiss and a hornblende from a remagnetized metabasite sill yield ages of ca. 1800 Ma; these dates probably record cooling of the southern Highland Mountains following high-grade metamorphism at 1.9-1.8 Ga. The gneiss and metabasite age spectra show virtually no evidence of disturbance, indicating that the basement rocks were never heated to temperatures sufficient to cause even partial resetting of their argon systems. Thus, the overprint magnetization of the Highland Mountains rocks is not a thermoremanent magnetization acquired during conductive cooling of nearby Late Cretaceous plutons. Remagnetization of the metabasite sills and diabase dikes was probably caused by localized thermochemical and thermoviscous effects during circulation of Late Cretaceous hydrothermal fluids related to epithermal mineralization. The absence of significant disturbance to the 40Ar/39Ar age spectrum from the remagnetized metabasite hornblende indicates that some secondary magnetizations may go unrecognized and undated, even if 40Ar/39Ar dating is applied.
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Late Cretaceous remagnetization of Proterozoic mafic dikes, southern Highland Mountains, southwestern Montana: A paleomagnetic and 40Ar/39Ar study