Abstract

A number of terranes were present in the early Paleozoic ocean between Laurentia and Gondwana following rifting. The precise location of these microcontinents and island arcs is unclear. We present tectonic subsidence curves from selected basins that may provide some constraints on the possible paleogeographic interpretations for this time interval. Among these tectonic blocks were the Precordillera terrane that originated in the Ouachita area of Laurentia and the composite Avalon-Carolina terrane that was derived from the Gondwana margin. Also present were the island-arc terranes of Famatina, Mixteca, and Zapoteca. The Precordillera and Famatina terranes are currently located in southern South America. The Avalon-Carolina terrane is in eastern North America. The Mixteca and Zapoteca terranes are in Central America. A review of previous work augmented by new tectonic subsidence analysis indicates that these terranes were swept up by early Paleozoic plate movements and were translated to approximately their present relative positions by the Early Carboniferous.

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