Abstract

The kinematics of the Early Caledonian accretion process in the southwest (in modern coordinate) of the Siberian paleocontinent, and the structure of its active continental margin are debatable subjects. This paper contains a generalization of paleomagnetic data on island-arc terranes of the territories of the Altai–Sayan and Baikal–Vitim folded areas for the Late Vendian/Cambrian–Early Ordovician time interval, obtained mostly with the author’s participation during the last two decades. The large accumulated database finally allows one to find unambiguously interpretable patterns in the distribution of paleomagnetic poles for the analyzed terrane system and to justify numerically the kinematics of the Early Caledonian accretion. In particular, the analysis of paleomagnetic data proves our idea stating that the transformation of the active continental margin in the Cambrian consisted in its breakup and segmentation as well as in the detachment of fragments of the initially whole island arc along a system of sinistral strike-slips during the clockwise rotation of the craton and conform drift of the continental and oceanic lithospheric plates. It also validates the mostly oblique conditions of the subduction and subsequent accretion, which means a subduction-transform mode on the ocean–continent margin. We propose a complemented version of the paleotectonic reconstruction for the Cambrian evolution of the Siberian continent western margin, based on the kinematic scheme constructed from paleomagnetic data.

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