Ancient Supercontinents and the Paleogeography of Earth

Ancient Supercontinents and the Paleogeography of Earth

1st Edition - October 6, 2021

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  • Editors: Lauri Pesonen, Johanna Salminen, Sten-Ake Elming, David Evans, Toni Veikkolainen
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128185339
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128185346

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Ancient Supercontinents and the Paleogeography of Earth offers a systematic examination of Precambrian cratons and supercontinents. Through detailed maps of drift histories and paleogeography of each continent, this book examines topics related to Earth’s tectonic evolution prior to Pangea, including plate kinematics, orogenic development, and paleoenvironments. Additionally, this book discusses the methodologies used, principally paleomagnetism and tectonostratigraphy, and addresses geophysical topics of mantle dynamics and geodynamo evolution over billions of years. Structured clearly with consistent coverage for Precambrian cratons, this book combines state-of-the-art paleomagnetic and geochronologic data to reconstruct the paleogeography of the Earth in the context of major climatic events such as global glaciations. It is an ideal, up-to-date reference for geoscientists and geographers looking for answers to questions surrounding the tectonic evolution of Earth.

Key Features

  • Provides robust paleogeographies of Precambrian cratons based on high-quality paleomagnetic and geochronologic data and critically tested by global geological datasets
  • Includes links to updated databases for the Precambrian such as PALEOMAGIA and the Global Paleomagnetic Database (GPMDB)
  • Presents full-color maps of the drift histories of each continent as well as their paleogeographies
  • Discusses key questions regarding continental drift, the supercontinent cycle, and the geomagnetic dipole hypothesis and analyzes palaeography in the context of Earth’s holistic evolution


Researchers and graduate students in geosciences and geography

Table of Contents

  • 1. Precambrian supercontinents and supercycles--an overview
    2. A mantle dynamics perspective on the drift of cratons and supercontinent formation in Earth´s history
    3. Precambrian geomagnetic field: An overview
    4. The Precambrian paleogeography of Laurentia
    5. The Precambrian drift history and paleogeography of Baltica
    6. The Precambrian drift history and paleogeography of Amazonia
    7. The Precambrian drift history and paleogeography of Rio de la Plata craton
    8. The Precambrian paleogeography of Siberia
    9. Whence Australia: Its Precambrian drift history and paleography
    10. The Precambrian drift history and paleogeography of India
    11. The Precambrian drift history and paleogeography of the Chinese cratons
    12. The Precambrian drift history and paleogeography of Kalahari Craton
    13. Constraints on the Precambrian paleogeography of West African Craton
    14. The Precambrian drift history and paleogeography of Congo-São Francisco craton
    15. Neoarchean-Paleoproterozoic supercycles
    16. Paleo-Mesoproterozoic Nuna supercycle
    17. Meso-Neoproterozoic Rodinia supercycle
    18. Phanerozoic paleogeography and Pangea
    19. An expanding list of reliable paleomagnetic poles for Precambrian tectonic reconstructions

Product details

  • No. of pages: 662
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2021
  • Published: October 6, 2021
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128185339
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128185346

About the Editors

Lauri Pesonen

Lauri J. Pesonen is an Emeritus Professor of solid earth geophysics at Physics Department of University of Helsinki. He is a graduate at the Helsinki University of Technology and obtained PhD in 1978 at the University of Toronto. He is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and has been the president of the Geophysical Society of Finland, and the Chair of Divison III (Paleomagnetism) of IUGG/IAGA during 199397. The IUA AU:1 nominated the asteroid 1979A as “Pesonen” according to his activities in studies of supercontinents and meteorite impacts. He received the Knight Medal of the First Class Finnish Lion in 1995. Lauri is author or coauthor of over 150 peer-reviewed articles. He initiated the Nordic Paleomagnetism Workshops and was a key-person in the developments of the Precambrian (PALEOMAGIA) and Holocene (GEOMAGIA) paleomagnetic databases. Lauri organized the International Supercontinent Symposium in 2012 in Helsinki. He has had academic (teaching and research) positions in Canada, Estonia, Norway, Germany, India, and Colombia. His research topics spread from supercontinents to the Earth’s ancient magnetic field, impact structures, meteorite petrophysics, archeomagnetism, environmental magnetism, and biomagnetism. He has built three paleomagnetism laboratories, the first one at the Geological Survey of Finland, the second at the University of Helsinki, the third in Tarto University, Estonia. His latest interests include constructions of exhibitions of meteorites and impactites at several Finnish museums.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland

Johanna Salminen

Johanna M. Salminen is a Docent at the University of Helsinki and has been leading the research of its Solid Earth Geophysics Laboratory during 201421. Since August 2021, she has been the Director of the Geophysical Laboratory of the Geological Survey of Finland. She earned an MSc in Geophysics (2004) and a PhD in Solid Earth Geophysics (2009) from the University of Helsinki. Her research interests lie in continental reconstructions, Precambrian supercontinents, deep-time evolution of the Earth, Cenozoic magnetostratigraphy, environmental magnetism, and biomagnetism. Her professional recognitions include Academy of Finland Research Fellowship (201520) and Early Career Scientist Award by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IAGA) (2015). She is a coleader of the Deep Time Digital Earth paleomagnetism working group

Affiliations and Expertise

Adjunct Professor, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Finland and Director of Geophysical Laboratory, Geological Survey of Finland, Finland

Sten-Ake Elming

Sten-Åke Elming is Prof. Emeritus in Geophysics, , Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology. He is a graduate of Uppsala University and obtained a PhD in Geophysics at Luleå University of Technology (1982). Sten-Åke is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2006) and was a member of the Academy jury for the Craaford prize in geosciences, 2014. He has been in the committee and steering group for geosciences of the Swedish Natural Science Research Council. He has been building research capacity and departments in Geophysics/geosciences at universities in developing countries, including Nicaragua, Thailand and Mozambique. Sten-Åke is the author and co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on topics that include basic as well as applied research, with focus on paleomagnetism and plate tectonics, rock magnetism, regional geophysics, exploration of water and mineral resources. He established and supported the building of two paleomagnetic laboratories, one at Luleå University of Technology and another at Prince of Songkla University, Thailand.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

David Evans

David A.D. Evans is a professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Yale University and the Director of its Paleomagnetism Laboratory. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University (1992) and a PhD in Geology from the California Institute of Technology (1998). He is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications on paleomagnetism and evolution of Earth’s geodynamo, Precambrian supercontinent reconstructions, and deep-time paleoclimatology and evolution. His professional accolades include a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, Blavatnik Award Finalist, and the George P. Woollard Award of the Geological Society of America “for outstanding contributions to geology through the application of the principles and techniques of geophysics.” He has led two UNESCO International Geoscience Program (IGCP) projects on Precambrian supercontinents. Since 2016, he has served as Head of Berkeley College, a residential college at Yale University.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, CT, United State

Toni Veikkolainen

Toni Veikkolainen is a geophysicist at the Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki. He completed his PhD degree in 2014. His thesis handled the geocentric axial dipole model of the Precambrian geomagnetic field. He has been the first author or coauthor in 16 peerreviewed publications on various aspects of geophysics, from supercontinent reconstructions to theoretical aspects of paleomagnetic data, and seismic and thermal structure of the Fennoscandian lithosphere. He has been the administrator of the global paleomagnetic database PALEOMAGIA since 2014. He has served as the secretary of the Geophysical Society of Finland since 2013. He is an active member of the Finnish amateur astronomy community and has significantly contributed to the dissemination of scientific knowledge to the public. Currently, he works with the development of seismological analysis systems and databases and monitoring of seismic risk associated with commercial projects.

Affiliations and Expertise

Geophysicist, Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki, Finland

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