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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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