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Abstract

Research on the Precambrian basement of North America over the past two decades has shown that Archean and earliest Proterozoic evolution culminated in suturing of Archean cratonic elements and pre-1.80-Ga Proterozoic terranes to form the Canadian Shield at about 1.80 Ga (Hoffman, 1988,1989a, b). We will refer to this part of Laurentia as the Hudsonian craton (Fig. 1) because it was fused together about 1.80 to 1.85 Ga during the Trans-Hudson and Penokean orogenies (Hoffman, 1988). The Hudsonian craton, including its extensions into the United States (Chapters 2 and 3, this volume), formed the foreland against which 1.8- to 1.6-Ga continental growth occurred, forming the larger Laurentia (Hoffman, 1989a, b). Geologic and geochronologic studies over the past three decades have shown that most of the Precambrian in the United States south of the Hudsonian craton and west of the Grenville province (Chapter 5) consists of a broad northeast to east-northeast-trending zone of orogenic provinces that formed between 1.8 and 1.6 Ga. This zone, including extensions into eastern Canada, comprises or hosts most rock units of this age in North America as well as extensive suites of 1.35- to 1.50-Ga granite and rhyolite. This addition to the Hudsonian Craton is referred to in this chapter as the Transcontinental Proterozoic provinces (Fig. 1); the plural form is used to denote the composite nature of this broad region.

The Transcontinental Proterozoic provinces consist of many distinct lithotectonic entities that can be defined on the basis of regional lithology, regional structure, U-Pb ages from zircons, Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic signatures, and regional geophysical anomalies.

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