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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

CSPG Special Publications


Devonian of the World: Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on the Devonian System — Memoir 14, Volume I: Regional Syntheses, 1988
Pages 15-48
Global Devonian Geology

Laurussia — The Old Red Continent

P. A. Ziegler


Laurussia was formed during the latest Silurian by the welding of Laurentia-Greenland and Fennosarmatia along the Arctic-North Atlantic Caledonian mega-suture.

During the Middle Devonian Acadian-Ligerian orogeny the Gondwana derived Avalonia, Aquitaine- Cantabrian and the ill defined Intra-Alpine Terrane were accreted to the southern margin of Laurussia. Latest Devonian initial contacts between Gondwana and Laurussia was followed, at the transition from Devonian to Carboniferous, by the Late Acadian-Bretonian orogenic pulse of the Appalchian- Variscan geosynclinal system. The late Visean onset of the Himalayan-type Main-Variscan orogenic cycle culuminated in the Permo-Carboniferous suturing of Gondwana and Laurussia.

Devonian convergence and collision of Arctica with Laurussia governed evolution of the Inuitian fold belt, which became consolidated during Early Mississippian. On the western margin of Laurussia the Antler Orogen became uplifted during latest Devonian-Early Mississippian. The eastern, essentially passive margin of Laurussia was paralleled through Devonian time by the intra-oceanic Sakmanian-Magnitogorsk arc-trench system.

The central landmass of Laurussia, the Old Red Continent, was characterised by a hot, seasonally dry climate; its size changed through time in response to eustatic sea level fluctuations, important intra-plate deformations and the development major delta plains in the Inuitian and Appalachian foredeep basins.

The objective of this review is to retrace the latest Silurian to Early Carboniferous tectonic evolution of the Laurussian mega-continent.

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