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Temporal and spatial divisions

Harold Williams
Harold Williams
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January 01, 1995


A wealth of detailed data exists for the Canadian Appalachian region. Presentation of data for an orogen as complex as the Appalachian can be problematical. In this chapter the presentation of these data is based on temporal and spatial divisions of rock units. Previous analyses of the Canadian Appalachian region reflected theories in vogue at the time of their undertaking. Thus prior to the wide acceptance of plate tectonics and continental drift, analyses reflected geosynclinal theory. These varied in detail, from the early work of Schuchert (1923) to the sophisticated compound geosynclines that served as a theme for the fifth edition of the Geology and Economic Minerals of Canada (Poole et al., 1970). Subsequent to plate tectonics, conceptual plate models have abounded. Many were contrived on local relations and abandoned as new information on the geology was uncovered.

Analyses based on “as is” tectonostratigraphic spatial divisions are those that have met with most success. Thus divisions in the U.S. Appalachians (King, 1950, 1959) such as Appalachian Foreland, Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge and Piedmont provinces, are still in wide usage. Similarly, the tripartite division of Newfoundland (Williams, 1964, see Fig. 1.16), Western Platform, Central Volcanic Belt and Avalon Platform (Kay and Colbert, 1965) remains little changed, though introduced well before the plate tectonic revolution. These are meaningful geographic divisions used in objective syntheses that describe rocks and structures, while attempting to separate what is known, from what is interpreted.

In any objective “as is” account, decisions must be made at

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DNAG, Geology of North America

Geology of the Appalachian-Caledonian Orogen in Canada and Greenland

Harold Williams
Harold Williams
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Geological Society of America
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Publication date:
January 01, 1995




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