Late Neoproterozoic and early Cambrian palaeogeography: Models and problems

Sergei A. Pisarevsky, J. B. Murphy, P. A. Cawood, A. S. Collins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)


We present two alternative sets of global palaeogeographical reconstructions for the time interval 615-530 Ma using competing high and low-latitude palaeomagnetic data subsets for Laurentia in conjunction with geological data. Both models demonstrate a genetic relationship between the collisional events associated with the assembly of Gondwana and the extensional events related to the opening of the Tornquist Sea, the eastern Iapetus Ocean (600-550 Ma), and the western Iapetus Ocean (after 550 Ma), forming a three-arm rift between Laurentia, Baltica, and Gondwana. The extensional events are probably plume-related, which is indicated in the reconstructions by voluminous mafic magmatism along the margins of palaeo-continents. The low-latitude model requires a single plume event, whereas the high-latitude model needs at least three discrete plumes. Coeval collisions of large continental masses during the assembly of Gondwana, as well as slab pull from subduction zones associated with those collisions, could have caused upper plate extension resulting in the rifted arm that developed into the eastern Iapetus Ocean and Tomquist Sea but retarded development of the western Iapetus Ocean. As a result, the eastern Iapetus Ocean and the Tornquist Sea opened before the western Iapetus Ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWest Gondwana
Subtitle of host publicationPre-Cenozoic Correlations Across the South Atlantic Region
EditorsR.J. Pankhurst, R.A.J. Trouw, B.B. De Brito Neves, M.J. De Wit
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGeological Society Special Publication
ISSN (Print)0305-8719

Cite this