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Abstract

The Pan-African Damara orogenic system records Gondwana amalgamation involving serial suturing of the Congo–São Francisco and Río de la Plata cratons (North Gondwana) from 580 to 550 Ma, before amalgamation with the Kalahari–Antarctic cratons (South Gondwana) as part of the 530 Ma Kuunga–Damara orogeny. Closure of the Adamastor Ocean was diachronous from the Araçuaí Belt southwards, with peak sinistral transpressional deformation followed by craton overthrusting and foreland basin development at 580–550 Ma in the Kaoko Belt and at 545–530 Ma in the Gariep Belt. Peak deformation/metamorphism in the Damara Belt was at 530–500 Ma, with thrusting onto the Kalahari Craton from 495 Ma through to 480 Ma. Coupling of the Congo and Río de la Plata cratons occurred before final closure of the Mozambique and Khomas (Damara Belt) oceans with the consequence that the Kuunga suture extends into Africa as the Damara Belt, and the Lufilian Arc and Zambezi Belt of Zambia. Palaeomagnetic data indicate that the Gondwana cratonic components were in close proximity by c. 550 Ma, so the last stages of the Damara–Kuunga orogeny were intracratonic, and led to eventual out-stepping of deformation/metamorphism to the Ross–Delamerian orogen (c. 520–500 Ma) along the leading edge of the Gondwana supercontinental margin.

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