Paleomagnetism of the Cretaceous Galula Formation and implications for vertebrate evolution

Widlansky, Sarah J., Clyde, William C., O'connor, Patrick M., Roberts, Eric M., and Stevens, Nancy J. (2018) Paleomagnetism of the Cretaceous Galula Formation and implications for vertebrate evolution. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 139. pp. 403-420.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.201...
 
4
2


Abstract

This study uses magnetostratigraphy to help constrain the age of the paleontologically important Galula Formation (Rukwa Rift Basin, southwestern Tanzania). The formation preserves a Cretaceous vertebrate fauna, including saurischian dinosaurs, a putative gondwanatherian mammal, and notosuchian crocodyliforms. With better dating, the Galula Formation and its fossils help fill a temporal gap in our understanding of vertebrate evolution in continental Africa, enabling better evaluation of competing paleobiogeographic hypotheses concerning faunal exchange throughout Gondwana during the Cretaceous. Paleomagnetic samples for this study were collected from the Namba (higher in section) and Mtuka (lower in section) members of the Galula Formation and underwent stepwise thermal demagnetization. All samples displayed a strong normal magnetic polarity overprint, and maximum unblocking temperatures at approximately 690˚C. Three short reversed intervals were identified in the Namba Member, whereas the Mtuka Member lacked any clear reversals. Given the relatively limited existing age constraints, one interpretation correlates the Namba Member to Chron C32. An alternative correlation assigns reversals in the Namba Member to recently proposed short reversals near the end of the Cretaceous Normal Superchron (Chron C34), a time that is traditionally interpreted as having stable normal polarity. The lack of reversals in the Mtuka Member supports deposition within Chron C34. These data suggest that the Namba Member is no older than Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Campanian), with the Mtuka Member less well constrained to the middle Cretaceous (Aptian-Cenomanian). The paleo-magnetic results are supported by the application of fold and reversal tests for paleomagnetic stability, and paleomagnetic poles for the Namba (246.4˚/77.9˚, α-95 5.9˚) and Mtuka (217.1˚/72.2˚, α-95 11.1˚)members closely matching the apparent polar wander path for Africa during the Late Cretaceous. These results confidently indicate a Late Creteceous age assignment for the Namba Member of the Galula Formation, a unit that has yielded key crocodyliform (e.g., Pakasuchus; Rukwasuchus) and dinosaur (e.g.,Rukwatitan; Shingopana) fossils from eastern Africa.

Item ID: 52939
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1956
Keywords: paleomagnetism, Late Cretaceous, Africa, Rukwa Rift Basin
Funders: National Science Foundation (NSF), Geological Society of America (GSA), University of New Hampshire
Projects and Grants: NSF EAR 1349825, NSF EAR 1349592
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2018 02:58
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040303 Geochronology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 2
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page