Pangea

geochronological correlation of successive environmental and strati-tectonic phases in Europe and Australia

J. J. Veevers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A robust geochronology based on U-Pb zircon ages in Australia (n = 158) and Europe (n = 376) provides a rigorous test of (1) the model of a climatic-tectonic cycle of a single continent (Pangea) and ocean (Panthalassa) with an icehouse climate alternating with many continents and oceans with a greenhouse climate, and (2) the idea of coeval (320 to 300 Ma) right-lateral shear events in Eastern Australia and Europe followed by earliest Permian (similar to 300 Ma) extension. During Pangean assembly, stress from the oblique collision of Laurussia and Gondwanaland bent the oroclines in Iberia, drove the intense shortening in Central Australia and terminal megakinking in the Lachlan orogen, and possibly drove the bending of orodines in Eastern Australia. Extension I (similar to 300 Ma, Carboniferous/Permian) followed the first outburst of self-induced (monsoonal) heat from the newly assembled Pangea, and generated fresh accommodation space for globally synchronous sedimentary successions, including the glacial base and succeeding coals of the Gondwana fades. Extension was relieved by sags on (isotropic) cratons and rifts on (anisotropic) fold belts with voluminous volcanics. In Europe, the Variscan orogen was cut into right-lateral magmatic rifts and the craton sagged to accumulate magmatic basins; likewise, the convergent margin of Eastern Australia was cut into a long magmatic rift and the cratonic foreland covered by the Gondwana fades. The end-Permian (251 Ma) sea-level drawdown, climate warming, and severe biotic extinction, with no obvious tectonic cause, were responsible for the Early-Middle Triassic coal gap. A second outburst of heat drove Extension II (235 Ma, Camian, Late Triassic), expressed as rifts and sags that accumulated a second set of coal-bearing strata. At this time of its largest extent, Pangea underwent incipient breakup by rifting of the Atlantic Margins of North America, Morocco, and Western Europe that developed into 190 Ma drifting. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-95
Number of pages48
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Volume127
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • Pangea
  • Assembly
  • Extension
  • Oroclines
  • Variscan
  • Kanimblan
  • NEW-ENGLAND OROGEN
  • U-PB ZIRCON
  • NEW-SOUTH-WALES
  • SEA-LEVEL CHANGES
  • PERMO-CARBONIFEROUS MAGMATISM
  • RUHLA CRYSTALLINE COMPLEX
  • IBERO-ARMORICAN ARC
  • CENTRAL NORTH-SEA
  • SHRIMP ZIRCON
  • EASTERN AUSTRALIA

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