Abstract

Upper Neoproterozoic to lower Paleozoic sedimentary successions in northwestern India are thought to record collision between the continental fragments of Western and Eastern Gondwana, and contain detritus derived from the East African orogen. However, paleocurrent analysis together with U-Pb age distribution and Hf isotopic signatures of detrital zircons from these successions indicate derivation from proximal sources within Eastern Gondwana. Time-equivalent successions from the Qiangtang terrane (Tibetan Plateau) and the northern margin of Neoproterozoic India show a similar provenance record, along with additional input of late Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic detritus from East Antarctica–East India and West Australia. Detritus from the rising East African orogen is abundant in deposits in northern Africa, which constitutes part of Western Gondwana, but absent from equivalent successions in Indian Eastern Gondwana. The consistency in sedimentary provenance of the late Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic strata in northwestern India, combined with the lack of evidence for deformation or metamorphism since at least ca. 760 Ma, argues against collision between the eastern and western segments of Gondwana in this northern region. These regions remained as passive continental margins separated by a large-scale embayment of the proto-Tethys ocean until late Paleozoic fragmentation of the continental blocks.

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