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TitleThe metamorphic and magmatic record of collisional orogens
AuthorWeller, O; Mottram, C; St-Onge, M R; Moller, C; Strachan, R; Rivers, T
SourceNature Reviews Earth & Environment vol. 2, issue 11, 2021 p. 1-19,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20210115
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceQuebec; Newfoundland and Labrador; Ontario; Nunavut
NTS2; 3; 12; 13; 15; 16; 21; 22; 23; 25; 26; 27; 31; 32; 35; 36; 37; 38; 41; 47; 48; 57; 58
AreaBaffin Island; Ungava Peninsula; Tibet; India; Pakistan; Nepal; Bhutan; Greenland; Denmark; Norway; Sweden; United States of America
Lat/Long WENS -82.0000 -55.0000 55.0000 43.0000
Lat/Long WENS -90.0000 -60.0000 74.0000 61.0000
Lat/Long WENS 75.0000 96.0000 36.0000 26.0000
Lat/Long WENS -27.0000 -11.0000 82.0000 70.0000
Lat/Long WENS 5.0000 30.0000 72.0000 70.0000
Lat/Long WENS 8.0000 22.0000 62.0000 55.0000
Subjectstectonics; structural geology; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; orogenies; orogenesis; tectonic interpretations; tectonic history; metamorphism; magmatism; geological history; thermal history; bedrock geology; basement geology; lithology; metamorphic rocks; igneous rocks; structural features; crustal thickness; crustal structure; rheology; Archean; Himalaya-Tibet Orogen; Grenville Orogen; Trans-Hudson Orogen; Superior Craton; Caledonian Orogen; Sveconorwegian Orogen; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Paleozoic; Precambrian; Proterozoic
Illustrationsschematic cross-sections; phase diagrams; geochronological charts; location maps; geoscientific sketch maps
ProgramOpen Geoscience
Released2021 10 19
AbstractThe Cenozoic Himalaya-Tibet orogen is generally regarded as the archetypal continental collision zone and is often used as an analogue for interpreting ancient orogenic events. However, given the wide diversity observed in present-day collisional mountain belts, the extent to which such inferences can be made remains debated. In this Review, we compare the metamorphic and magmatic record of the Himalaya-Tibet orogen to four ancient orogens - the Palaeozoic Caledonian orogen, the Meso-Neoproterozoic Grenville and Sveconorwegian orogens, and the Palaeoproterozoic Trans-Hudson orogen - to establish the controls on the underlying dynamics and the nature of the resulting rock record. The similarities in rock records, and, thus, thermal conditions, are interpreted to result from comparable foreland strengths, resulting in similar maximum crustal thicknesses. Apparent differences in the records are mainly attributed to variation in exposed structural level rather than fundamentally different tectonic processes. We, therefore, suggest that foreland rheology is a critical factor in determining the effectiveness of orogen comparisons. Future research is required to investigate the causes and consequences of lateral variability in mountain belts, in particular, focussing on the record of orogens smaller than those considered here, and to understand if and why mountain building processes have varied through Earth history.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The Himalaya mountains are generally regarded as the archetypal collisional mountain range and are used as an analogue in the study of ancient mountain belts. In this review, the Himalaya are compared with four of Earth's largest ancient mountain belts (or orogens) - the Caledonian orogen, the Grenville and Sveconorwegian orogens, and the Trans-Hudson orogen - to determine commonalities and differences. To provide a framework for the comparison, the magmatic and metamorphic rock records (the 'barcode') are compared. Commonalities include deformation and magmatism that predates collision, continental subduction, crustal thickening and mid-crustal metamorphism. Differences include the degree of preservation of the collisional lower-plate, exposure of deep-crustal and subduction-related rocks, and late-collisional magmatism. Most of these differences can be attributed to variations in exposure level. Common threads back to the Trans-Hudson orogen suggest that modern plate tectonic processes have occurred for at least ~half Earth history.

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