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A palaeogeographic link between Australia and eastern North America: a New England connection?

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This research tests the hypothesis that Australia and eastern North America met in rotational collision during the Palaeozoic with the corollary that the New England fold belt of Australia, rather than the Reguibat promontory of Africa, collided with the Alleghanian orogen in the central Appalachians. Identical Lancefieldian-stage, zone 1 (Early Ordovician) graptolites of the Anisograptid family are found in identical environments in Newfoundland, Norway, and the Lachlan fold belt of Australia. Palaeozoic granites are consistent with a tectonic model in which the Lachlan fold belt caused mechanical deformation of the Canadian Appalachians. The Lachlan and New England fold belts of Australia and the Alleghanian orogen of North America are tectonically consistent with the east coast hypothesis. Major deformations and magmatic episodes are coeval from Silurian to Permian. The tectonic, palaeontologic, lithologic, and geometric evidence for this position is more abundant and precise than the stratigraphic evidence for a west coast location of Australia relative to North America.
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Keywords: Graptolites; continental drift; lithology; palaeogeography; palaeontology; plate tectonics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Post Office Box 2008, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6237, U.S.A.

Publication date: 1996-05-01

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