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In the original Wilson cycle, the northern Appalachian–Caledonide orogen resulted from the collision of two continental masses separated by a single ocean. One of these corresponds to the modern concept of Laurentia, but the colliding continent to the east has been variously subdivided into many smaller terranes and domains, including Ganderia, Avalonia and Megumia. Using published stratigraphic evidence and detrital zircon provenance data from units of known depositional age, the timing of arrival of these units at the Laurentian margin between the Early Ordovician and Early Devonian can be constrained. Several of the accreted terranes do not extend over the entire length of the orogen, with the result that the lines separating them change character along strike from terrane-bounding sutures to simple accretionary faults. The Ganderia domain consists of at least four separate terranes that share a common origin on the continental margin of Gondwana, but were separated by back-arc oceanic crust as they crossed the Iapetus Ocean and collided diachronously with the Laurentian margin.

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