Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry U–Pb and Lu–Hf isotope analyses of detrital zircon from Neoproterozoic–Cambrian clastic sedimentary rocks in the Mira terrane (Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada; West Avalonia) and the Stavelot–Venn Massif (East Belgium; East Avalonia) support deposition on an originally coherent microcontinent. Crustal evolution trends defined by ϵHf(t) values varying with age reflect juvenile magma production in the source continent at 1.2–2.2 and 2.4–3.1 Ga. Mixing of juvenile and recycled crust in continental magmatic arcs is recognized at 0.5–0.72, 1.4–1.7, 1.8–2.2 and 2.4–2.7 Ga. These results concur with the crustal evolution in Amazonia, the likely parent craton. Crustal evolution in Avalonia is recorded in detrital and magmatic zircon from Neoproterozoic arcs (680–550 Ma). Positive ϵHf(t) values suggest juvenile input and mixing with recycled crust. Most negative ϵHf(t) values represent recycling of predominantly Mesoproterozoic underlying crust. Avalonian arc magmatism was followed by late Neoproterozoic–early Cambrian sedimentation in various belts in West Avalonia. These belts were juxtaposed by strike-slip during late early Cambrian deposition in a rift basin. The youngest detrital zircon population (c. 517 Ma) probably represents synrift magmatism before break-up of Avalonia. Migmatization at 406 ± 2 Ma in a xenolith from the East Avalonian crust reflects post-collisional heating.

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