Palaeomagnetic−petrographic−structural analyses of Proterozoic–Lower Palaeozoic metamorphosed carbonates from 12 locations within Oscar II Land (Western Spitsbergen) have been carried out to determine their usefulness in palaeogeographic reconstructions for Caledonian time. Structural analyses confirm that metacarbonates record several stages of deformation: D1, D2 ductile phases related to Caledonian metamorphism and a D3 brittle phase related to Late Cretaceous–Paleogene evolution of the West Spitsbergen Fold Belt. The latter is represented by thrust faults, localized folds with strain slip cleavages and late extensional collapse. Petrographic investigations reveal that Caledonian greenschist facies metamorphism was characterized by the high activity of H 2 O−CO 2 −rich fluids which promoted extensive recrystallization and within−rock spatial reorganization of sampled meta carbonates. Microscopic, SEM and microprobe analyses exclude the existence of any primary pre−metamorphic ferromagnetic minerals (primary−related to sedimentation and or early diagenesis) and point to metamorphic 4C superstructure (Fe 7 S 8 ) pyrrhotite as the main ferromagnetic carrier in investigated rocks. This is confirmed by the three−component isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM) procedures and the results of thermal demagnetizations. In 12 sites a total number of 72 independently oriented palaeomagnetic samples were collected from which 181 specimens were drilled and thermally demagnetized. Sampled metacarbonates are weakly magnetized (NRM <0.2mA/m). The statistically significant palaeomagnetic results were achieved only from 1 of 12 investigated sites. In one site situated in the Western overturned limb of the Holmesletfjellet Syncline intermediate unblocking temperatures – “pyrrhotite related” component WTSJ5M superimposed on the S1 Caledonian schistosity was recognized (D = 100.7 ° , I = −21.4 °a 95% = 5.5 ° , k = 58.23). Coincidence of WTSJ5M with Silurian–Devonian sector of the Baltica reference path after unfolding of the syncline by the angle of 130 ° suggests synfolding origin of this direction. Further, this suggests that Holmesletfjellet Syncline originated as an open fold and has been transformed into an overturned syncline during the Late Caledonian shortening or in the Late Cretaceous–Palaeogene time.
A total number of 156 palaeomagnetic specimens of metacarbonates from 9 sites in Blomstrandhalvøya and Lovénøyane (Kongsfjorden, western Spitsbergen) and an additional 77 specimens of unmetamorphosed sediments infilling fractures (4 sites) within the Caledonian metamorphic basement of Blomstrandhalvøya were demagnetized. No relicts of pre-metamorphic magnetization were identified. The Natural Remanent Magnetization (NRM) pattern of metacarbonates is dominated by Caledonian (sensu lato) – Svalbardian and Late Mesozoic/Cenozoic secondary magnetic overprints carried by the pyrrhotite and magnetite/maghemite phases, respectively. The NRM of unmetamorphosed sediments infilling the karstic/tectonic fractures is dominated by hematite carrier. It revealed three stages of magnetization: Caledonian sensu lato, Carboniferous and Late Mesozoic/Cenozoic, which can be related to their initial fracturing, karstification and sedimentation or reactivation. As the majority of the palaeopoles calculated for the Kongsfjorden sites fit the 430 – 0 Ma sector of Laurussia reference path in an in situ orientation these results support the hypothesis that Blomstrandhalvøya and Lovénøyane escaped main Eurekan deformations. The potential rotation of the Kongsfjorden basement by any west dipping listric fault activity rotating the succession accompanying the opening of North Atlantic Ocean was not documented by the palaeomagnetic data presented here.