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Published models for the Limpopo Complex as a whole include Neoarchean (ca. 2.65 Ga) continent-continent collision, Turkic-type terrane accretion, and plume-related gravitational redistribution within the crust. Hypotheses proposed for parts of the complex are Paleoproterozoic (ca. 2.0 Ga) dextral transpression for the Central Zone, westward emplacement of the Central Zone as a giant nappe, and gravitational redistribution scenarios. In this chapter these models and hypotheses are reviewed and tested against new data from geophysics (chiefly seismics and gravity), isotope geochemistry (mainly Sm-Nd and Lu-Hf data), geochronology, and petrology. Among the whole-complex models, the plume-related gravitational redistribution model and the Turkic-type terrane accretion model do not satisfy the constraints. The Neoarchean collision model remains as a viable working hypothesis, whereby (in contrast to published versions) the Zimbabwe Craton appears to be the overriding plate, with the Northern Marginal and Central Zones of the Limpopo Complex as its (possibly Andean-type) active margin and shelf, respectively. Of the partial models, gravitational redistribution in the context of crustal thickening is compatible with Neoarchean collision and can explain features at the Complex–Kaapvaal Craton boundary. Paleoproterozoic dextral transpression in the Central Zone can be superimposed on Neoarchean collision, provided that it does not itself entail a continent collision. The Paleoproterozoic metamorphism is characterized by near-isobaric prograde paths, which (along with combined teleseismic and gravity data) suggest magmatic underplating. This could be related to the Bushveld Complex, and may have weakened the crust, leading to the focusing of regional strain into transcurrent movement in the Central Zone.

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