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Proterozoic foldbelts older than about 1 Ga lack the distinctive signatures of the contemporary Wilson cycle although they frequently contain thick sedimentary assemblages that resemble those in Phanerozoic orogens. Mafic volcanic rocks are rare, however, and occur intestratified with sedimentary strata; they are not layered and contain no sheeted dikes and can therefore not be interpreted as ophiolites.

These characteristics as well as paleomagnetic and isotopic constraints preclude an evolution of these belts during closure of extensive oceans and subduction of significant amounts of oceanic lithosphere.

An alternative plate tectonic model is developed that invokes rifting, heating, and stretching of...

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