Abstract

Climatically-related sedimentary facies and faunal distributions have been combined with palaeomagnetic data to make provisional reconstructions of the early Cambrian world. Laurentia, Baltica and Siberia appear to have formed a continental group which rifted apart from each other prior to 600 Ma. The consolidation of much of Gondwana probably occurred (in the Pan-African orogeny) well before the Cambrian, though the assembly of several east Asian terranes is still speculative. The archaeocyathan reefs of Siberia, southern Europe and Morocco, with their bigotinid trilobite fauna, suggest that these areas were adjacent to each other and at low latitudes. Avalonia had close faunal links with western Gondwana, but lacked bigotinids and archaeocyathans and may have been situated off west Africa and Florida. During the early Cambrian, there was a northward migration of Laurentia towards the Equator as its separation from Baltica and Siberia increased, and a southward movement of Gondwana.

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