Reconstructing the Paleoproterozoic heart of Nuna, from Fennoscandia to Northeastern Laurentia

S.T. Johnston, R. Lahtinen, B.M. Saumur, P. Guarnieri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in bookResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Accurate palaeogeographical reconstructions of past supercontinents are necessary to test models of supercontinent cyclicity, secular variation in plate tectonics and mantle geodynamics. However, numerous factors limit our ability to reconstruct past supercontinents as is evident in the ongoing debates regarding the construction phase and geometry of Earth's most recent supercontinent, late Paleozoic to early Mesozoic Pangaea. An important factor in these debates, and a focus of our study is how best to palinspastically restore, in section and in plan-view, the orogenic belts along which supercontinents were stitched together. We utilize the orogenic belts spanning Baffin Island, Greenland and Fennoscandia that are inferred to record the assembly of the Paleoproterozoic supercontinent Columbia to test the accepted reconstruction of the Nuna core of Columbia. We show that as reconstructed in the Nuna model, each of Baffin Island, Greenland (with some complications) and Fennoscandia are characterized by an older cratonic backstop that gives way to younger accretionary complexes toward the inferred oceanic domain that lay to the south and which is inferred to have closed by subduction beneath northeastern Laurentia–Fennoscandia during Columbia assembly. This southward transition from cratonic backstop to accretionary orogen is a hallmark of upper plates in modern convergent plate margins and is consistent with the construction of the Columbia supercontinent, including its Nuna core, through plate tectonic processes, and provides a broad validation of the Nuna reconstruction and hence for Columbia as a whole. Map view curvature of the cratonic backstops is restricted to long wavelength, open bends consistent with the Archean crust having been characterized by significant lithospheric strength. The more accretionary southern portions of Nuna are, however, characterized by sinuous orogens that developed by oroclinal bending of formerly more linear belts, significantly complicating their palinspastic restoration and rendering detailed correlation of juvenile orogenic belts across Nuna problematic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSupercontinents, orogenesis and magmatism
EditorsR.D. Nance, R.A. Strachan, C. Quesada, S. Lin
PublisherGeological Society of London
Number of pages19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2024

Publication series

SeriesGeological Society Special Publication
Number1
Volume542
ISSN0305-8719

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources

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