Abstract

Previous paleomagnetic work has appeared to demand the breakup of southwest United States−East Antarctic (SWEAT) type Rodinia reconstructions before ca. 750 Ma, significantly earlier than the stratigraphic record of rift-drift transition between 715 Ma and 650 Ma. Here we reanalyze Australian paleomagnetic and regional tectonic data to produce a model in which the Precambrian Australian continent had a slightly different configuration before the breakup of Rodinia. A cross-continental megashear zone developed along the Paterson and Petermann orogens at ca. 650–550 Ma, during or after the breakup of Rodinia, manifested as an ∼40° clockwise rotation of the South and West Australian cratons relative to the North Australian craton around a vertical axis in Central Australia. This model reconciles major paleomagnetic discrepancies within Australia, and allows for a longer lifespan of SWEAT-like reconstructions of Rodinia that are consistent with the Neoproterozoic stratigraphic records of Australia and Laurentia.

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