This article provides stratigraphic and geochronological data from a central part of Gondwana’s northern margin — the Moroccan Meseta Domain. This region, located to the north of the Anti-Atlas area with extensive outcrops of Precambrian and lower Paleozoic rocks, has hitherto not received much attention with regard to its Precambrian geology. Detrital and volcanic zircon ages have been used to constrain sedimentary depositional ages and crustal affinities of sedimentary source rocks in stratigraphic key sections. Based on this, a four-step paleotectonic evolution of the Meseta Domain from the Ediacaran until the Early Ordovician is proposed. This evolution documents the transition from a terrestrial volcanic setting during the Ediacaran to a short-lived carbonate platform setting during the early Cambrian. The latter then evolved into a rifted margin with deposition of thick siliciclastic successions in graben structures during the middle to late Cambrian. The detritus in these basins was of local origin, and a contribution from a broader source area (encompassing parts of the West African Craton) can only be demonstrated for postrifting, i.e., laterally extensive sandstone bodies that seal the former graben. In a broader paleotectonic context, it is suggested that this Cambrian rifting is linked to the opening of the Rheic Ocean, and that several peri-Gondwanan terranes (Meguma and Cadomia–Iberia) may have been close to the Meseta Domain before drifting, albeit some of them seem to have been constituted by a distinctly different basement.
A missing link in the peri-Gondwanan terrane collage: the Precambrian basement of the Moroccan Meseta and its lower Paleozoic cover
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Dominik Letsch, Mohamed El Houicha, Albrecht von Quadt, Wilfried Winkler; A missing link in the peri-Gondwanan terrane collage: the Precambrian basement of the Moroccan Meseta and its lower Paleozoic cover. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences ; 55 (1): 33–51. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2017-0086
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