Basement exposures along the northwestern flanks of the Gulf of Suez record the rapid formation of continental crust during the interval 670–550 Ma. A variety of field, petrographic, petrologic, and isotopic considerations indicate that this episode of crust formation took place in an extensional tectonic setting analogous to that of the late Paleozoic Oslo Rift of Norway. Crustal evolution in this region thus contrasts with other regions of the Afro-Arabian Shield where the crust appears to have been formed by convergent margin accretionary processes and collisional tectonics. This imposes new constraints on our understanding of late Precambrian crustal evolution.

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