Radiolarian-rich sediments dominated pelagic deposition over large portions of the Tethys Ocean during middle to late Jurassic time as shown by extensive bedded chert sequences found in both continental margin and ophiolite units of the Mediterranean region. Which paleoceanographic mechanisms and paleotectonic setting favored radiolarian deposition during the Jurassic, and the nature of a Tethys-wide change from biosiliceous to biocalcareous (mainly nannofossil) deposition at the beginning of Cretaceous time, have remained open questions. Previous paleomagnetic analyses of Jurassic red radiolarian cherts in the Italian Apennines indicate that radiolarian deposition occurred at low peri-equatorial latitudes, similar to modern day deposition of radiolarian-rich sediments within equatorial zones of high biologic productivity. To test this result for other sectors of the Mediterranean region, we undertook paleomagnetic study of Mesozoic (mostly middle to upper Jurassic) red radiolarian cherts within the Aegean region on the Peloponnesus and in continental Greece. Sampled units are from the Sub-Pelagonian Zone on the Argolis Peninsula, the Pindos-Olonos Zone on the Koroni Peninsula, near Karpenissi in central Greece, and the Ionian Zone in the Varathi area of northwestern Greece. Thermal demagnetization of samples from all sections removed low-temperature viscous and moderate-temperature overprint magnetizations that fail the available fold tests. At Argolis and Koroni, however, the cherts carry a third high-temperature magnetization that generally exhibits a polarity stratigraphy and passes the available fold tests. We interpret the high-temperature component to be the primary magnetization acquired during chert deposition and early diagenesis. At Kandhia and Koliaky (Argolis), the primary declinations and previous results indicate clockwise vertical-axis rotations of ??? 40?? relative to "stable" Europe. Due to ambiguities in hemispheric origin (N or S) and thus paleomagnetic polarity, the observed declinations could indicate either clockwise (CW) or counterclockwise (CCW) vertical-axis rotations. Thus at Adriani (Koroni), the primary declinations indicate either CW or CCW rotations of ??? 95?? or ??? 84??, depending on paleomagnetic polarity and age. The primary inclinations for all Peloponnesus sites indicate peri-equatorial paleolatitudes similar to those found for coeval radiolarian cherts exposed in other Mediterranean orogenic belts. Our new paleomagnetic data support the interpretation that Mesozoic radiolarites within the Tethys Ocean were originally deposited along peri-equatorial belts of divergence and high biologic productivity. ?? 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Peri-equatorial paleolatitudes for Jurassic radiolarian cherts of Greece