Abstract

Disentangling records of Rodinia fragmentation and true polar wander remains a challenge for understanding late Tonian plate tectonics. The ca. 760 Ma lower member of the Liántuó Formation, South China, yields a primary paleomagnetic remanence that passes both the fold and reversal tests. This new result and recently reported ca. 800 Ma data from elsewhere in South China suggest a new interpretation of its apparent polar wander path, whereby pre–770 Ma poles have inverted absolute polarity relative to traditional interpretations. Based on this inversion, and an interpretation of several oscillations of true polar wander documented by global data during 810–760 Ma, we propose a novel reconstruction for Rodinia and its breakup. Our reconstruction places the South China, India, and Kalahari cratons to the southwest of Laurentia, with connections that might have been established as early as ca. 1000 Ma. Our model also suggests that initial rifting of Rodinia occurred at ca. 800 Ma via fast northward motion of the India craton and South China.

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