RODINIA (from the Russian "Родина", ródina, meaning "The
Motherland") is a
Neoproterozoic supercontinent that was assembled
1.3–0.9 billion years ago and broke up 750–633 million years ago.
Valentine & Moores 1970 were probably the first to recognise a
Precambrian supercontinent, which they named '
Pangaea I'. It was
renamed 'Rodinia' by McMenamin ">
Rodinia broke up in the
Neoproterozoic with its continental fragments
reassembled to form
Pannotia 633–573 million years ago. In contrast
with Pannotia, little is known yet about the exact configuration and
geodynamic history of Rodinia. Paleomagnetic evidence provides some
clues to the paleolatitude of individual pieces of the Earth\'s crust
, but not to their longitude , which geologists have pieced together
by comparing similar geologic features, often now widely dispersed.
The extreme cooling of the global climate around 717–635 million
years ago (the so-called
Snowball Earth of the
Cryogenian Period ) and
the rapid evolution of primitive life during the subsequent Ediacaran
Cambrian periods are thought to have been triggered by the
breaking up of
Rodinia or to a slowing down of tectonic processes.
* 1.1 Paleogeographic reconstructions
* 1.2 Break up
* 2 Influence on paleoclimate and life
* 3 See also
* 4 References
* 4.1 Notes
* 4.2 Bibliography
* 5 External links
Life timeline view • discuss • edit -4500 — – -4000 —
– -3500 — – -3000 — – -2500 — – -2000 — – -1500 —
– -1000 — – -500 — – 0 — WATER Single-celled
life PHOTOSYNTHESIS EUKARYOTES Multicellular
life LAND LIFE DINOSAURS MAMMALS FLOWERS ←
Earth (−4540 ) ← Earliest water ← Earliest
life ← LHB meteorites ← Earliest oxygen ←
Atmospheric oxygen ← Oxygen crisis ← Earliest sexual
reproduction ← Ediacara biota ←
← Earliest humans P
n Pongola Huronian
Cryogenian Andean Karoo Quaternary
Axis scale : millions of years .
Orange labels: known ICE AGES.
Human timeline and Nature timeline
The idea that a supercontinent existed in the early Neoproterozoic
arose in the 1970s, when geologists determined that orogens of this
age exist on virtually all cratons . Examples are the Grenville
North America and the
Dalslandian orogeny in Europe.
Since then, many alternative reconstructions have been proposed for
the configuration of the cratons in this supercontinent. Most of these
reconstructions are based on the correlation of the orogens on
different cratons. Though the configuration of the core cratons in
Rodinia is now reasonably well known, recent reconstructions still
differ in many details. Geologists try to decrease the uncertainties
by collecting geological and paleomagnetical data.
Most reconstructions show Rodinia's core formed by the North American
craton (the later paleocontinent of
Laurentia ), surrounded in the
southeast with the
East European craton (the later paleocontinent of
Baltica ), the
Amazonian craton ("Amazonia") and the West African
craton ; in the south with the Río de la Plata and São Francisco
cratons ; in the southwest with the Congo and Kalahari cratons ; and
in the northeast with Australia , India and eastern
Antarctica . The
positions of Siberia and North and South China north of the North
American craton differ strongly depending on the reconstruction:
* SWEAT -Configuration (Southwest US-East
Antarctica is on the Southwest of
Laurentia and Australia is at the
North of Antarctica.
* AUSWUS-Configuration (Australia-western US): Australia is at the
West of Laurentia.
* AUSMEX-Configuration (Australia-Mexico): Australia is at the
location of nowadays Mexico relative to Laurentia.
* The "Missing-link" model by Li et al. 2008 which has South China
between Australia and the west coast of Laurentia. A revised
"Missing-link" model is proposed in which Tarim Block serves as an
extended or alternative missing-link between Australia and Laurentia.
* Siberia attached to the western US (via the
Belt Supergroup ), as
in Sears the closure of the Braziliano, Adamastor, and Mozambique
oceans; and the Pan-African orogeny. The result was the formation of
Rodinia hypothesis assumes that rifting did not start everywhere
simultaneously. Extensive lava flows and volcanic eruptions of
Neoproterozoic age are found on most continents, evidence for large
scale rifting about 750 million years ago. As early as 850 and 800
million years ago, a rift developed between the continental masses of
present-day Australia, East Antarctica, India and the Congo and
Kalahari cratons on one side and later Laurentia, Baltica, Amazonia
and the West African and Rio de la Plata cratons on the other. This
rift developed into the
Adamastor Ocean during the Ediacaran.
Around 550 million years ago, on the boundary between the Ediacaran
and Cambrian, the first group of cratons eventually fused again with
Africa and the Rio de la Plata cratons. This tectonic
phase is called the
Pan-African orogeny . It created a configuration
of continents that would remain stable for hundreds of millions of
years in the form of the continent
In a separate rifting event about 610 million years ago (halfway in
Ediacaran period), the
Iapetus Ocean formed. The eastern part of
this ocean formed between
Baltica and Laurentia, the western part
between Amazonia and Laurentia. Because the exact moments of this
separation and the partially contemporaneous
Pan-African orogeny are
hard to correlate, it might be that all continental mass was again
joined in one supercontinent between roughly 600 and 550 million years
ago. This hypothetical supercontinent is called
INFLUENCE ON PALEOCLIMATE AND LIFE
Unlike later supercontinents,
Rodinia would have been entirely
Rodinia existed before complex life colonized dry land. Based
on sedimentary rock analysis Rodinia's formation happened when the
ozone layer was not as extensive as it is today. Ultraviolet light
discouraged organisms from inhabiting its interior. Nevertheless, its
existence did significantly influence the marine life of its time.
Cryogenian period the
Earth experienced large glaciations ,
and temperatures were at least as cool as today. Substantial areas of
Rodinia may have been covered by glaciers or the southern polar ice
Low temperatures may have been exaggerated during the early stages of
Geothermal heating peaks in crust about to be
rifted; and since warmer rocks are less dense , the crustal rocks rise
up relative to their surroundings. This rising creates areas of higher
altitude, where the air is cooler and ice is less likely to melt with
changes in season, and it may explain the evidence of abundant
glaciation in the
The eventual rifting of the continents created new oceans and
seafloor spreading , which produces warmer, less dense oceanic
lithosphere . Due to its lower density, hot oceanic lithosphere will
not lie as deep as old, cool oceanic lithosphere. In periods with
relatively large areas of new lithosphere, the ocean floors come up,
causing the eustatic sea level to rise. The result was a greater
number of shallower seas.
The increased evaporation from the larger water area of the oceans
may have increased rainfall, which, in turn, increased the weathering
of exposed rock. By inputting data on the ratio of stable isotopes
18O:16O into computer models, it has been shown that, in conjunction
with quick weathering of volcanic rock , this increased rainfall may
have reduced greenhouse gas levels to below the threshold required to
trigger the period of extreme glaciation known as
Snowball Earth .
Increased volcanic activity also introduced into the marine
environment biologically active nutrients, which may have played an
important role in the development of the earliest animals.
* Columbia for one possible reconstruction of an earlier
List of supercontinents
* ^ "Research paper suggests East
North America once
linked". The Antarctic Sun. United States Antarctic Program. 26 August
2011. Retrieved 15 November 2012. Reconstruction originally published
in Goodge et al. 2008 , Fig 3A, p. 238; research paper mentioned is
Loewy et al. 2011 .
* ^ Redfern 2001 , p. 335
* ^ Li et al. 2008 , Abstract
* ^ Li et al. 2008 , Introduction, p. 180
* ^ Meert 2012 , Supercontinents in
Earth history, p. 998
* ^ Zhao et al. 2002 ; Zhao et al. 2004
* ^ A B Piper 2013
* ^ Dewey the name 'Rodinia' was first used in McMenamin for the
correlation between the Australian Musgrave orogeny and the Grenville
orogeny see Wingate, Pisarevsky fig. 5, p. 127
* ^ For a comparison of the SWEAT, AUSWUS, AUSMEX, and Missing-link
reconstructions see Li et al. 2008 , Fig. 2, p. 182. For a comparison
between the "consensus"
Rodinia of Li et al. 2008 and the original
proposal of McMenamin & McMenamin 1990 see Nance, Murphy Weil et al.
1998 , Fig. 6, p. 21; Torsvik 2003 , Fig. '
Rodinia old and new', p.
1380; Dalziel 1997 , Fig. 11, p. 31; Scotese 2009 , Fig. 1, p. 69
* ^ Moores 1991 ; Goodge et al. 2008
* ^ Li et al. 2008 , Fig. 4, p. 188; fig. 8, p. 198
* ^ Wen, Bin; Evans, David A. D.; Li, Yong-Xiang (2017-01-15).
Neoproterozoic paleogeography of the Tarim Block: An extended or
alternative "missing-link" model for Rodinia?".
Earth and Planetary
Science Letters. 458: 92–106.
Bibcode :2017E&PSL.458...92W. doi
* ^ A B "Other Reconstructions for
Rodinia based on sources for
Mojavia". Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado
Boulder. May 2002. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
* ^ Scotese 2009 ; Torsvik, Gaina & Redfield 2008
* ^ A B Torsvik 2003 , p. 1380
* ^ Piper 2010
* ^ Bogdanova, Pisarevsky & Li 2009 , Breakup of
Ma), pp. 266–267
* ^ A B McMenamin ">
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Look up RODINIA in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
* Scotese Animation: Breakup of Rodinia