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The Geology of the Southern Termination of the Caledonides

  • John F. Dewey

Abstract

Caledonian earth movements are manifest in the Caledonides. This truism raises the partly semantic, yet vexing, question of a proper definition of the terms Caledonides and Caledonian. If one adheres rigidly to definitions based upon Scottish mountains, the type example, the Caledonides involve the Northwest and Grampian Highlands and the Southern Uplands. The term Caledonian would then apply to earth movements from Precambrian to Middle Devonian. The terms, however, are currently, and sensibly, used to embrace orogenic zones, orogenic stratigraphic sequences, and orogeny in a distinct and unified, albeit complex, belt from Spitzbergen and Finmark through Scandinavia to the British Islands. When viewed on a pre-Early Jurassic sea-floor spreading reconstruction of the continents around the North Atlantic, the Caledonides can be interpreted as forming part of an orogenic belt continuous into the Northern Appalachian System of eastern North America and probably involves the Paleozoic orogenic belt of East Greenland (Fig. 1). Thus, on this model, it is proper to regard the Northern Appalachians and the Caledonides as a single mountain belt if we are to fully evaluate and understand the evolution of either continent. The problem is further compounded by the fact that certain distinctive zones are common to the Caledonides, the Northern Appalachians, the Southern Appalachians, the Mauritanides and the Hercynides (Fig. 1). This essentially means that, when viewed on a sufficiently large geographic scale, classically defined orogenic belts are not discrete separate units but form parts of larger systems of crustal mobility.

Keywords

Middle Devonian Lower Devonian Pillow Lava Continental Drift Ophiolite Suite 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Dewey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesState University of New York at AlbanyAlbanyUSA

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