Journal of Iberian Geology

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 583–600 | Cite as

Paleomagnetism in Extremadura (Central Iberian zone, Spain) Paleozoic rocks: extensive remagnetizations and further constraints on the extent of the Cantabrian orocline

  • Daniel Pastor-Galán
  • Gabriel Gutiérrez-Alonso
  • Mark J. Dekkers
  • Cor G. Langereis
Research paper



The winding Variscan belt in Iberia, featuring the Cantabrian orocline (NW Iberia) and the Central Iberian curve, is a foremost expression of the late Carboniferous amalgamation of Pangea, which produced remagnetizations spanning almost the entire globe.

Geological settings

Also in Iberia, late Carboniferous remagnetizations are widespread often hindering paleomagnetic interpretations in terms of pre-Pangean geologic history. In contrast, such remagnetizations facilitated the kinematic study of the Cantabrian orocline. Immediately to its south is located the Central Iberian curve whose geometry and kinematics are under debate. Recent studies suggest that this putative structure cannot have formed in the same process as the Cantabrian orocline.


Here we present a paleomagnetic and rock magnetic study from Extremadura, a region in the utmost west of the southern limb of the Central Iberian curve. Our new results show two distinct remagnetization events in Paleozoic rocks in Extremadura: (1) Mesozoic or Cenozoic remagnetization occurring in dolomitized limestones and (2) late Carboniferous remagnetization in limestones, characterized by consistent shallow inclinations, but largely scattered declinations indicating a counter clockwise (CCW) vertical axis rotation. Pyrrhotite is documented as magnetic carrier in the limestones which testifies a remagnetization under anchimetamorphic conditions, i.e. during the Variscan orogeny.


We interpret the declination scattering as a remagnetization coeval to the vertical axis rotation. The described CCW rotations are those expected for the southern limb of the Cantabrian orocline and are in disagreement with a late Carboniferous secondary origin for the Central Iberian bend, extending the Cantabrian orocline to at least most of the Iberian peninsula.


Paleomagnetism Central Iberian zone Remagnetization Cantabrian orocline Carboniferous tectonics 



El orógeno Varisco, que en la península Ibérica está curvado y contiene el Oroclinal Cantábrico (NO de Iberia) y la curva orogénica Centro Ibérica, es el resultado más visible de la amalgamación de Pangea en el Carbonífero superior. Durante ese tiempo, la formación de Pangea produjo remagnetizaciones en todos los continentes. En Iberia, las remagnetiaciones del Carbonífero superior son muy extensas y afectan a casi todas las rocas ocultando y dificultando cualquier interpretación paleomagnética de la historia geológica anterior al Pérmico. Paradójicamente, dichas remagnetizaciones facilitaron el estudio de la cinemática del Oroclinal Cantábrico. Inmediatamente al sur de este oroclinal se sitúa la curva orogénica Centro Ibérica cuya geometría y cinemática están bajo debate. Algunos estudios recientes apuntan a la posibilidad de que la curva Centro Ibérica se formase a la vez que el Oroclinal Cantábrico.


En este artículo presentamos los resultados paleomagnéticos obtenidos rocas Paleozoicas de Extremadura, región que contiene la sección sur-occidental de la curva Centro Ibérica. Nuestros resultados muestran dos remagnetizaciones separadas en el tiempo: 1) Una remagnetizaciión Mesozoica o Cenozoica que aparece en calizas dolomitizadas y 2) Una remagnetización del Carbonífero tardío cuyas características incluyen inclinaciones subhorizontales y declinaciones dispersas que indican una rotación de eje vertical en sentido horario. Además, hemos identificado pirrotina como mineral magnético en las calizas. Este mineral solo aparece en calizas remagnetizadas durante metamorfismo de bajo grado (anquizona).


Interpretamos que la dispersión en la declinación registra una remagnetización que ocurrió a la vez que la rotación de ejes verticales. La rotación horaria que sugieren nuestros resultados coincide con la esperada para el flanco sur del Oroclinal Cantábrico. Estos resultados contradicen la posibilidad de que la curva Centro Ibérica y el Oroclinal Cantábrico ocurriesen al mismo tiempo y con carácter secundario respecto a la orogenia Varisca, y extienden las rotaciones de eje vertical ligadas al Oroclinal Cantábrico a todo el sur oeste de la Península Ibérica.

Palabras clave

Paleomagnetismo Zona Centro-Ibérica remagnetización Oroclina Cantábrico Tectónica del Carbonífero 



We thank Alicia López-Carmona, Piedad Franco and Eva Manchado for their assistance with thin sections. M. Suárez provided X-Ray diffraction analysis for some of the studied samples. Daniël Brouwer helped to collect and analyze the DB samples. We thank two anonymous reviewers their insights and help to improve this paper. DPG is funded by a Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) fellowship for overseas researchers (P16329) and a MEXT/JSPS KAKENHI Grant (JP16F16329). GGA is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under the project ODRE III-Oroclines and Delamination: Relations and Effects (CGL2013-46061-P) and project Origin, metallogeny, climatic effects and cyclicity of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs)(№ 14.Y26.31.0012) funded by the Russian Federation. DPG wants to acknowledge Billy Shears on its 50th anniversary for this 20 years of raising my smile. This paper is part of UNESCO IGCP Projects 574: Buckling and Bent Orogens, and Continental Ribbons; 597: Amalgamation and breakup of Pangaea: The Type Example of the Supercontinent Cycle; and 648: Supercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics.

Supplementary material

41513_2017_39_MOESM1_ESM.txt (398 kb)
Supplementary material 1 Paleomagnetic results (.txt file, DIR type) that can be opened, and reinterpreted with the online and open source software (TXT 398 kb)
41513_2017_39_MOESM2_ESM.txt (22 kb)
Supplementary material 2 Paleomagnetic Statistics (.txt, PMAG type) that can be opened, and reinterpreted with the online and open source software (TXT 21 kb)
41513_2017_39_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (680 kb)
Supplementary material 3 Additional thermomagnetic runs, fitted IRM acquisition curves and common true mean direction plot. Raw data will be provided upon mail request (PDF 679 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for North East Asia StudiesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Departamento de GeologíaUniversidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain
  3. 3.Geology and Geography DepartmentTomsk State UniversityTomskRussian Federation
  4. 4.Paleomagnetic Laboratory “Fort Hoofddijk”, Department of Earth SciencesUniversiteit UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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