The tectonic context of the Early Palaeozoic southern margin of Gondwana
Robert J. Pankhurst, Alan P. M. Vaughan, 2009. "The tectonic context of the Early Palaeozoic southern margin of Gondwana", Early Palaeozoic Peri-Gondwana Terranes: New Insights from Tectonics and Biogeography, M. G. Bassett
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The oceanic southern margin of Gondwana, from southern South America through South Africa, West Antarctica, New Zealand (in its pre-break-up position), and Victoria Land to Eastern Australia, is one of the longest and longest-lived active continental margins known. Its construction was initiated in late Neoproterozoic times following the break-up of the pre-existing supercontinent of Rodinia. Gondwana was established by the amalgamation of Australian, Indian, Antarctic, African and South American continental fragments mostly derived from Rodinia. Its ‘Pacific’ margin continued to develop as the site of the 18 000 km Terra Australis orogen, predominantly facing subducting ocean floor and involving some terrane accretion events, through Palaeozoic and Mesozoic times until, and during, the eventual break-up of Gondwana itself.
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Following the late Neoproterozoic – early Cambrian breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia, Gondwana evolved as one of the principal continental masses on Earth, embracing most of South America, Africa, Australasia, Antarctica, much of western Europe and parts of Asia. Around its margins were various other terranes that had varying tectonic and biogeographical affinities with the main continental block. This book incorporates a series of reviews and multidisciplinary research papers that together explore the tectonic, palaeogeographical and palaeobiogeographical evolution of the elements that made up the peri-Gondwanan collage. The stratigraphical scope of the coverage embraces the late Precambrian through early Devonian, providing a comprehensive overview of structural, stratigraphical and biological evolution through this significant interval of Earth history. Integration of these various processes throughout the volume will be of broad-based interest to a wide range of geoscientists.