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Global Reconstruction and Database Project*


Gérard M. Stampfli1, Cyril Hochard1, Caroline Wilhem1, and Juergen von Raumer2


Search and Discovery Article #30055 (2008)

Posted April 3, 2008


*Adapted from oral presentation at First MAPG International Conference & Exhibition, October 28-31, 2007, Marrakech, Morocco, and corresponding abstract entitled “600 Ma of Peri-Gondwana Plate Tectonics and Geodynamic Evolution.”


1University of Lausanne, IGP, Anthropole, CH 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland ([email protected])

2University of Fribourg, Sciences de la Terre, CH 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland



A new global plate tectonic scheme has been developed for the last 600 Ma, based on a large database including major geodynamic events affecting key-areas and related to plate boundary conditions in space and time. This new scheme is made in a GIS based software, allowing plate velocities and other plate characteristics to be measured along the geological time. This scheme is totally different from continental drift models proposed so far, as continents are now imbedded in plates, and thus, plate boundary conditions became a severe constraining factor in reconstructing the paleodynamics of the moving continents. Analysis of continental margins stratigraphy, sedimentology, magmatism, and tectonics is the key factor in this effort to integrate paleogeography and geodynamics. Gondwana and its periphery have been analyzed in detail, in order to propose a new fit where continental fragments, now dispersed in many continental areas, can find their original place. These fragments are part of major terranes that left Gondwana mainly in the Paleozoic, such as Avalonia, the Hun superterrane, the Galatian superterrane, and the Cimmerian superterrane. Some were amalgamated to Laurasia first, to be reunited with Gondwana later on. This is the case of the Moroccan Meseta, first part of an active peri-Gondwanan margin in the early Paleozoic, then drifting away from it, together with the Galatian superterrane and opening of Paleotethys, to be accreted to Laurussia in the Devonian-Carboniferous and soon after to Gondwana (Pangea) again. During the Jurassic it drifted away from Laurasia together with Gondwana.




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Selected Figures

Eovariscan and Variscan cyles (Stampfli et al., 2001). Gondwana drift history (in sequence) from Late Silurian to Late Carboniferous. IC=Indochina, including Borneo; KT= Karakum-Turan; KZ=Kazakhstan; Mug=Mugdozar ocean; nC=north China; nT=north Tibet (Qiantag); Pp=Paphlagonian ocean; sC=south China; Tm=Tarim.

Variscan model (in cross-section), 500 Ma – 300 Ma..

Click to view cross-sections in sequence.

Paleogeographic reconstructions (in sequence), 600 Ma – 394 Ma.

Paleogeographic reconstructions (in sequence), 394-290 Ma.


Selected References 

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Stampfli, G.M., H. Kozur, and G.D. Borel (in press), Europe from Variscan to the Alpine cycles, in Gee, D.G., and R. Stephenson, eds.: European Lithosphere Dynamics. Memoir of Geological Society (London).


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