The Grenvillian Orogeny was preceded by extensive anorogenic volcanism and plutonism in the period 1500–1300 Ma in the form of rhyolites, epizonal granites, anorthosites, gabbros, alkaline complexes, and basic dykes. An analogue for the mid-Proterozoic anorogenic complexes is provided by the 2000 km by 200 km belt of anorogenic complexes in the Hoggar, Niger, and Nigeria, which contain anorthosites, gabbros, and peralkaline granites and were generated in a Cambrian to Jurassic rift that farther south led to the formation of the South Atlantic. An analogue for the 1 × 106 km2 area of 1500–1350 Ma rhyolites (and associated epizonal granites) that underlie the mid-continental United States is provided by the 1.7 × 106 km2 area of Jurassic Tobifera rhyolites in Argentina, which were extruded on the stretched continental margin of South America immediately preceding the opening of the South Atlantic. The mid-Proterozoic complexes were intruded close to the continental margin of the Grenvillian ocean and were commonly superimposed by the craton-directed thrusts that characterized the final stages of the Grenvillian Orogeny. The bulk of the Keweenawan rift and associated anorogenic magmatism formed about 1100 Ma at the same time as the Ottawan Orogeny in Ontario, which probably resulted from the collision of the island arc of the Central Metasedimentary Belt attached to the continental block in the east with the continental block to the west. The most appropriate modern equivalent would be the Rhine Graben, which formed at the same time as the main Alpine compression.

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