During the earliest parts of the Phanerozoic era, the supercontinent of Gondwanaland was traversed by a network of mobile belts in whose interstices lay relatively small stable cratons. At the termination of orogenic activity in many parts of this network at or soon after 500 m.y., several previously separated cratons were welded together to produce a single, very much larger, stable unit. Orogenic activity continued in peripheral mobile zones which formed a nearly continuous girdle enveloping the newly consolidated craton (Fig. 6.1).
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