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West Newfoundland was critical in developing the Wilson Cycle concept. Neoproterozoic rifting established a passive margin adjacent to the Iapetus Ocean. Ordovician (Taconian) arc–continent collision emplaced ophiolites and the thin-skinned Humber Arm Allochthon. Subsequent Devonian (Acadian) ocean closure produced basement-cutting thrust faults that control the present-day distribution of units. New mapping, and aeromagnetic and seismic interpretation, around Parsons Pond enabled the recognition of structures in poorly exposed areas.

Following Cambrian to Middle Ordovician passive-margin deposition, Taconian deformation produced a flexural bulge unconformity. Subsequent extensional faults shed localized conglomerate into the foreland basin. The Humber Arm Allochthon contains a series of stacked and folded duplexes, typical of thrust belts. To the east, the Parsons Pond Thrust has transported shelf and foreland-basin units c. 8 km westwards above the allochthon. The Long Range Thrust shows major topographical expression but <1 km offset. Stratigraphic relationships indicate that most thrusts originated as normal faults, active during Neoproterozoic rifting, and subsequently during Taconian flexure. Devonian continental collision inverted the Parsons Pond and Long Range thrusts. Basement-cored fault-propagation folds in Newfoundland are structurally analogous to basement uplifts in other orogens, including the Laramide Orogen in western USA. Similar deep-seated inversion structures may extend through the northern Appalachians.

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