Australia's controversial Middle-Late Palaeozoic pole path and Gondwana-Laurasia interaction

Chris Klootwijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The prevailing pole path for Australia/Gondwana implies that contact between northwestern Gondwana and southern Laurussia was established not before the Late Carboniferous. This view is challenged by palaeogeographers and also by an alternative pole path for Australia/Gondwana. Both imply instead western Pangaean contact during the Late Devonian and Early Carboniferous. The alternative pole path also challenges the prevailing view of an eastward open Palaeoasian Ocean/Palaeotethys between north-eastern Gondwana and southern Laurasia, prior to the Late Carboniferous. It indicates a substantial northward excursion of Australia/north-eastern Gondwana during the Early Carboniferous, possibly starting already in the Early Devonian, with the New Guinean continental promontory of Australia reaching latitudes of 30°N to 40°N by early-middle Visean times. These latitudes are well within the paleolatitude range determined for the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB), the Kazakhstan Orocline in particular, during Devonian and Carboniferous. This eastern Pangaean continental convergence may provide an explanation for the widespread, contemporaneous, Variscan tectonism throughout the CAOB and throughout Australia, with implications for faunal interaction between north-eastern Gondwana and southern Laurasia during the Devonian and Early Carboniferous remaining to be ascertained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-185
Number of pages12
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


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