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An intimate lithostratigraphic and lithodemic connection between syn-orogenic rock masses inside the different lithotectonic units of the 2.0–1.8 Ga (Svecokarelian) orogen, Sweden, is proposed. A repetitive cyclic tectonic evolution occurred during the time period c. 1.91–1.75 Ga, each cycle lasting about 50–55 million years. Volcanic rocks (c. 1.91–1.88 Ga) belonging to the earliest cycle are host to most of the base metal sulphide and Fe oxide deposits inside the orogen. Preservation of relict trails of continental magmatic arcs and intra-arc basins is inferred, with differences in the depth of basin deposition controlling, for example, contrasting types of base metal sulphide deposits along different trails. The segmented geometry of these continental magmatic arcs and intra-arc basins is related to strike-slip movement along ductile shear zones during transpressive events around and after 1.88 Ga; late orogenic folding also disturbed their orientation on a regional scale. A linear northwesterly orogenic trend is suggested prior to this structural overprint, the strike-slip movement being mainly parallel to the orogen. A solely accretionary orogenic model along an active margin to the continent Fennoscandia, without any trace of a terminal continent–continent collision, is preferred. Alternating retreating and advancing subduction modes that migrated progressively outboard and southwestwards in time account for the tectonic cycles.

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