India in the Nuna to Gondwana supercontinent cycles: Clues from the North Indian and Marwar blocks

Wei Wang, Peter A. Cawood, Manoj K. Pandit

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Evolution of the Indian Block can be traced through Earth's Phanerozoic and Precambrian supercontinent cycles. The Paleoproterozoic tectonostratigraphic record of the North Indian Block and the Aravalli Delhi Fold Belt in the Nuna supercontinent assembly shows a close link with the events in the Cathaysia Block of South China. Accretion of the two terranes is documented by 1.97 to 1.92 Ga continental arc igneous rocks and 1.91 to 1.81 Ga syn- and post-collisional magmatism in the Lesser Himalaya, along with 1.88 to 1.86 Ga granulite metamorphism in both continental blocks. The connection between the North Indian Block and the Cathaysia Block continued through Nuna dispersal and was followed by the accretion of a series of terranes/microcontinents along the western margin of this united North India-Cathaysia Block during Rodinia assembly (ca. 1.0 Ga). This is recorded by accretion of the Marwar Block to the North Indian Block and Yangtze Block to the Cathaysia Block. Long-lived active continental margins continued along Marwar (NW India), Yangtze, Madagascar and the Seychelles until ca. 720 Ma that jointly occupied a peripheral or even independent paleoposition in the Rodinia reconstructions. The eastern margin of India sutured with the Western Australia-Mawson blocks along the Kunnga Orogen during the final assembly of Gondwana in the early Paleozoic, whereas microcontinental blocks including south Qiangtang and north Lhasa, were accreted to the northern margin of Gondwana in the vicinity of India. The collision of this ensemble of blocks with Africa (western Gondwana) is marked by the East African Orogen/ Mozambique Belt, extending through central east Africa, Madagascar, South India and Antarctica. However, further north, India was separated from the Arabian-Nubian Shield by an embayment of the proto-Tethys that remained integral until the breakup of Gondwana. The accretion of Laurussia to Gondwana in the mid-Paleozoic during the assembly of Pangea corresponds with lithospheric extension along the northern margin of India (Gondwana) and separation of several continental blocks including South China, south Qiangtang, and north Lhasa, which then drifted northward across the Paleo-Tethys to collide with the Asian segment of Pangea in the Permo-Triassic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-117
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican Journal of Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Gondwana
  • India
  • Nuna
  • Rodinia
  • Supercontinent

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