Visean ignimbrites from three fault-bounded blocks within the southern Tamworth Belt, southern New England Orogen, Australia, retain a prefolding high-temperature component of remanence, carried mainly by magnetite. Paleomagnetic data indicate that the southern Tamworth Belt occupied low to moderate paleolatitudes during the early Carboniferous. Normal and reversed polarities with low to moderate inclinations suggest that the steep, reverse polarity latest Carboniferous to earliest Permian overprint is absent from the high-temperature component data set. The mean characteristic remanence direction of three early to middle Visean ignimbrite flows (32 sites) from the Rouchel block is: declination (dec) = 154.2° and inclination (inc) = 38.8° (α95 = 12.5°; k = 98.8), which corresponds to a paleo south pole at latitude 64.9°S, longitude 258.1°E (dp = 5.5°; dm = 9.2°, where dp is the angular length of the semiaxis of the ellipse of confidence of the calculated paleopole that lies along the pole to site great circle, and dm is the angular length of the semiaxis perpendicular to dp). Six middle to late Visean ignimbrite flows (29 sites) from the Gresford block retain a mean remanence of dec = 159.6° and inc = 54.1° (α95 = 13.7°; k = 24.7), corresponding to a paleo south pole at latitude 72.8°S, longitude 228.4°E (dp = 13.4°; dm = 19.2°). Despite widespread overprinting throughout much of the Myall block, reliable information was obtained from three late Visean ignimbrite flows (five sites), with a mean direction of dec = 118.1° and inc = 42.5° (α95 = 12.0°; k = 41.6), from which a paleo south pole of latitude 35.7°S, longitude 233.4°E (dp = 9.1°; dm = 14.7°) is calculated. The calculated paleo south poles do not fall on the early Carboniferous segment of the published apparent polar wander path for Australia and suggest that the southern Tamworth Belt has undergone significant counter-clockwise rotation relative to cratonic Australia. Infferred rotations for the Rouchel, Gresford, and Myall blocks are approximately 80°, 80°, and 120°, respectively. Stratigraphic and geological evidence suggest rotation took place between the mid-Namurian and latest Carboniferous and is thought to have resulted from sinistral strike-slip during compression at the eastern margin of Australia.
- New England Orogen