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Supercontinent reconstruction from recognition of leading continental edges

J. Brendan Murphy, R. Damian Nance, Gabriel Gutierrez-Alonso and J. Duncan Keppie
Supercontinent reconstruction from recognition of leading continental edges
Geology (Boulder) (July 2009) 37 (7): 595-598


Repeated amalgamation and subsequent breakup of continental lithosphere have profoundly affected Earth's evolution since the Archean. Following breakup, distinctive rift and passive margin sequences along the trailing edges of dispersing continents have been used to identify such margins in the geologic past. Using western North America as an analogue, we show that the leading edges of dispersing continents have isotopic characteristics that can likewise be used to identify these margins. For example, the Sm-Nd isotopic signatures of Late Neoproterozoic and early Paleozoic igneous rocks along the northern margin of Gondwana indicate derivation from 0.7 to 1.1 Ga old mantle lithosphere. This lithosphere originated in the Mirovoi Ocean surrounding Rodinia. It subsequently accreted to northern Gondwana in response to Rodinia breakup, and provided a source for subsequent magmatism. Accretion and subsequent recycling of oceanic mantle lithosphere should be common along the leading edges of dispersing continents following supercontinent breakup, providing an additional aid in paleocontinental reconstructions.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 37
Serial Issue: 7
Title: Supercontinent reconstruction from recognition of leading continental edges
Affiliation: Saint Francis Xavier University, Department of Earth Sciences, Antigonish, NS, Canada
Pages: 595-598
Published: 200907
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 25
Accession Number: 2009-072258
Categories: Solid-earth geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
Secondary Affiliation: Ohio University, USA, United StatesUniversidad de Salamanca, ESP, SpainUniversidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, MEX, Mexico
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200939
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