The core of Rodinia formed by the juxtaposition of opposed retreating and advancing accretionary orogens

E. L. Martin, C. J. Spencer, W. J. Collins, R. J. Thomas, P. H. Macey, N. M.W. Roberts

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Long-lived (800 Ma) Paleo– to Mesoproterozoic accretionary orogens on the margins of Laurentia, Baltica, Amazonia, and Kalahari collided to form the core of the supercontinent, Rodinia. Accretionary orogens in Laurentia and Baltica record predominately radiogenic zircon εHf(t) and whole-rock Pb isotopic compositions, short crustal residence times (ca. 0.5 Ga), and the development of arc-backarc complexes. The accretionary orogenic record of Laurentia and Baltica is consistent with a retreating accretionary orogen and analogous to the Phanerozoic western Pacific orogenic system. In contrast, the Mesoproterozoic orogens of Amazon and Kalahari cratons record unradiogenic zircon εHf(t) values, ca. 0.8 Ga crustal residence times, and more ancient whole-rock Pb isotopic signatures. The accretionary orogenic record of Amazonia and Kalahari indicates the preferential incorporation of cratonic material in continental arcs of advancing accretionary orogens comparable to the Phanerozoic eastern Pacific orogenic system. Based on similarities in the geodynamic evolution of the Phanerozoic circum-Pacific orogens peripheral to Gondwana/Pangea, we suggest that the Mesoproterozoic accretionary orogens formed as peripheral subduction zones along the margin of the supercontinent Nuna (ca. 1.8–1.6 Ga). The eventual collapse of this peripheral subduction zone onto itself and closure of the external ocean around Nuna to form Rodinia is equivalent to the projected future collapse of the circum-Pacific subduction system and juxtaposition of Australia-Asia with South America. The juxtaposition of advancing and retreating accretionary orogens at the core of the supercontinent Rodinia demonstrates that supercontinent assembly can occur by the closure of external oceans and indicates that future closure of the Pacific Ocean is plausible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103413
Number of pages17
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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