Closure of the Proterozoic Mozambique Ocean was instigated by a late Tonian plate reorganization event

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Alan S. Collins , Morgan L. Blades , Andrew S. Merdith , John D. Foden 


Plate reorganization events involve fundamental changes in lithospheric plate-motions and can influence the lithosphere-mantle system as well as both ocean and atmospheric circulation through bathymetric and topographic changes. Here, we compile published data to interpret the geological record of the Neoproterozoic Arabian-Nubian Shield and integrate this with a full-plate tectonic reconstruction. Our model reveals a plate reorganization event in the late Tonian period about 720 million years ago that changed plate-movement directions in the Mozambique Ocean. After the reorganization, Neoproterozoic India moved towards both the African cratons and Australia-Mawson and instigated the future amalgamation of central Gondwana about 200 million years later. This plate kinematic change is coeval with the break-up of the core of Rodinia between Australia-Mawson and Laurentia and Kalahari and Congo. We suggest the plate reorganization event caused the long-term shift of continents to the southern hemisphere and created a pan-northern hemisphere ocean in the Ediacaran.



Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Neoproterozoic, Full-plate reconstruction, Plate reorganisation


Published: 2021-03-02 12:51

Last Updated: 2021-03-02 20:51


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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