Abstract

In the early Ordovician three main continents are recognized by faunas in Europe, Laurentia (northwest of the closed suture of the Iapetus Ocean), which was tropical; Baltica (north of the general area of the Trans‐European Suture Zone), which was temperate; and Gondwana (south of the TESZ), which was high latitude. As the Ordovician progressed, various terranes separated and drifted away from the Gondwana supercontinent at different times, namely Avalonia (which was probably originally part of Gondwana near South America), Iberia–Armorica, Perunica (Bohemia) and various Alpine fragments. Each terrane developed progressively different faunas as time went by. Avalonia collided with Baltica near the end of Ordovician, confirmed by faunas, tectonics and palaeomagnetism, and subsequently Avalonia–Baltica collided with Laurentia to form Laurussia from the mid‐Silurian to the early Devonian. The Ibero‐Armorica, Perunica and Alpine terranes did not join the European collage until the Devonian. The modern sites of the terrane boundaries bear little direct relationships to the original palaeogeographical boundaries in the Early Palaeozoic.

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