Late Proterozoic plate tectonics and palaeogeography:: a tale of two supercontinents, Rodinia and Pannotia
Published:January 01, 2009
Christopher R. Scotese, 2009. "Late Proterozoic plate tectonics and palaeogeography:: a tale of two supercontinents, Rodinia and Pannotia", Global Neoproterozoic Petroleum Systems: The Emerging Potential in North Africa, J. Craig, J. Thurow, B. Thusu, A. Whitham, Y. Abutarruma
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The plate tectonic and palaeogeographic history of the late Proterozoic is a tale of two supercontinents: Rodinia and Pannotia. Rodinia formed during the Grenville Event (c. 1100 Ma) and remained intact until its collision with the Congo continent (800–750 Ma). This collision closed the southern part of the Mozambique Seaway, and triggered the break-up of Rodinia. The Panthalassic Ocean opened as the supercontinent of Rodinia split into a northern half (East Gondwana, Cathyasia and Cimmeria) and a southern half (Laurentia, Amazonia–NW Africa, Baltica, and Siberia). Over the next 150 Ma, North Rodinia rotated counter-clockwise over the North Pole, while South Rodinia rotated clockwise across the South Pole. In the latest Precambrian (650–550 Ma), the three Neoproterozoic continents – North Rodinia, South Rodinia and the Congo continents – collided during the Pan-Africa Event forming the second Neoproterozoic supercontinent, Pannotia (Greater Gondwanaland). Pan-African mountain building and the fall in sea level associated with the assembly of Pannotia may have triggered the extreme Ice House conditions that characterize the middle and late Neoproterozoic. Although the palaeogeographic maps presented here do not prohibit a Snowball Earth, the mapped extent of Neoproterozoic ice sheets favour a bipolar Ice House World with a broad expanse of ocean at the equator. Soon after it was assembled (c. 560 Ma), Pannotia broke apart into the four principal Palaeozoic continents: Laurentia (North America), Baltica (northern Europe), Siberia and Gondwana. The amalgamation and subsequent break-up of Pannotia may have triggered the ‘Cambrian Explosion’. The first economically important accumulations of hydrocarbons are from Neoproterozoic sources. The two major source rocks of this age (Nepa of Siberia and Huqf of Oman) occur in association with massive Neoproterozoic evaporite deposits and in the warm equatorial–subtropical belt, within 30° of the equator.
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Global Neoproterozoic Petroleum Systems: The Emerging Potential in North Africa
Neoproterozoic successions are major hydrocarbon producers around the world. In North Africa, large basins with significant surface outcrops and thick sedimentary fills are widespread. These basins are now emerging as potential sources of hydrocarbons and are attracting interest from geological researchers in academia and the oil and gas industry.
This volume focuses on recent developments in the understanding and correlation of North African basin fills and explores novel approaches to prospecting for source and reservoir rocks. The papers cover aspects of petroleum prospectivity and age-equivalent global petroleum systems, Neoproterozoic tectonics and palaeogeography, sequence stratigraphy, glacial events and global climatic models, faunal and floral evolution and the deposition of source rocks.
The broader aim of this volume is to compare major environmental change, the emergence of life, the global carbon cycle and the implications for hydrocarbon exploration of well-studied Neoproterozoic successions worldwide.