Possibly the best-resolved Cryogenian exhumation signal yet!
The Great Unconformity has been recognized for more than a century, but only recently have its origins become a subject of debate. Hypotheses suggest global Snowball Earth glaciations and tectonic processes associated with the supercontinent Rodinia as drivers of widespread kilometer-scale erosion in the late Neoproterozoic. We present new integrated zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He and fission-track thermochronology from Precambrian basement samples of the central Canadian Shield in northern Manitoba to test these ideas. Bayesian inverse modeling indicates that 150–200 °C of cooling (>3 km of exhumation) occurred simultaneously with Cryogenian glaciations at ca. 690–650 Ma within interior North America. This estimate for the timing of unroofing is more precise than previous appraisals and does not align with any known tectonic or magmatic events (i.e., large igneous province eruptions) potentially associated with the supercontinent cycle that occurred during the late Proterozoic along the Laurentian margins. Based on these results and interpretations, the timing and magnitude of exhumation is best explained by glacial erosion, and further establishes the importance of multiple thermochronometers for resolving detailed deeptime thermal histories.
McDannell, K.T., Keller, C.B. (2022). Cryogenian glacial erosion of the central Canadian Shield: The “late” Great Unconformity on thin ice. Geology 10.1130/G50315.1