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Abstract

The Araçuaí–West Congo orogen encompasses orogenic domains located to the SE of the São Francisco Craton in Brazil, and to the SW of the Congo Craton in Africa. From the opening of the precursor basin to the last orogenic processes, the evolution of the orogen lasted from the very beginning of the Neoproterozoic up to the Cambrian–Ordovician boundary. After the spreading of the South Atlantic Ocean in Cretaceous time, the Araçuaí–West Congo orogen was split into two quite different but complementary counterparts. The Brazilian side (Araçuaí orogen) inherited two thirds of the whole orogenic edifice, including all the Neoproterozoic ophiolite slivers, the entire magmatic arc and syn-collisional to post-collisional magmatism, and the suture zone. The African counterpart (West Congo Belt), a fold–thrust belt free of Neoproterozoic ophiolite and Pan-African orogenic magmatism, inherited the thick pile of bimodal volcanic rocks of the Early Tonian rift stage, implying that the precursor basin was an asymmetrical rift with the thermal–magmatic axis located in the West Congo Belt. Both counterparts of the Araçuaí–West Congo orogen include Neoproterozoic glaciogenic deposits, allowing tentative lithostratigraphic correlations, but identification of the ice ages remains uncertain because the lack of sufficient well-constrained geochronological data.

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