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Published July 25, 1997 | public
Journal Article

Evidence for a Large-Scale Reorganization of Early Cambrian Continental Masses by Inertial Interchange True Polar Wander


Analysis of Vendian to Cambrian paleomagnetic data shows anomalously fast rotations and latitudinal drift for all of the major continents. These motions are consistent with an Early to Middle Cambrian inertial interchange true polar wander event, during which Earth's lithosphere and mantle rotated about 90 degrees in response to an unstable distribution of the planet's moment of inertia. The proposed event produces a longitudinally constrained Cambrian paleogeography and accounts for rapid rates of continental motion during that time.

Additional Information

© 1997 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received for publication 27 November 1996. Accepted for publication 9 June 1997. We thank D. L. Anderson, S. Bengtson, V. Courtillot, P. Goldreich, K. J. Peterson, and D. Prothero for discussions and R. Van der Voo and several anonymous referees for helpful comments. This work was supported by NSF grant EAR9418523 and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to D .A. E.

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