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A robust, geology-based Proterozoic continental assembly places the northern and eastern margins of the Siberian craton against the southwestern margins of Laurentia in a tight, spoon-in-spoon conjugate fit. The proposed assembly began to break apart in late Neoproterozoic and early Paleozoic time. Siberia then drifted clockwise along the Laurussian margin on coast-parallel transforms until suturing with Europe in late Permian time. The proposed drift path is permitted by a geocentric axial dipole (GAD) magnetic field from Silurian to Permian time. However, the Proterozoic reconstruction itself is not permitted by GAD. Rather, site-mean paleomagnetic data plotted on the reconstruction suggest a multipolar Proterozoic dynamo dominated by a quadrupole. The field may have resembled that of present-day Neptune, where, in the absence of a large solid inner core, a quadrupolar magnetic field may be generated within a thin spherical shell near the core-mantle boundary. The quadrupole may have dominated Earth’s geomagnetic field until early Paleozoic time, when the field became erratic and transitioned to a dipole, which overwhelmed the weaker quadrupole. The dipole then established a strong magnetosphere, effectively shielding Earth from ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation and making the planet habitable for Cambrian fauna.

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