Detrital zircon laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry U-Pb age data from the Lower Ordovician Armorican Quartzite (deformed passive margin strata of Gondwanan affi nity) of the Iberian Massif are presented herein. The S-shaped coupled Iberian oroclines defi ned within these zones palinspastically restore to a 2300 km linear Variscan orogen with a paleomagnetically constrained Late Carboniferous north-south trend. Detrital zircons are used to assess paleo geog raphy and interpreted geometry of the Iberian portion of the Gondwana passive margin. A common signature is identifi ed by (1) Neoproterozoic (ca. 500-850 Ma), (2) Stenian-Tonian (ca. 0.9-1.1 Ga), and lesser (3) Paleoproterozoic and (4) Archean populations (ca. 1.8-2.15 and 2.5-2.7 Ga, respectively). Minor site-to-site variation in rela tive proportion of widely ranging age groups suggests near-uniform distribution of a highly varied detrital input. Provenance analysis reveals strong correlations with Cambro-Ordo vician clastic rocks from northeast African realms. Similarity with underlying sequences suggests a common paleogeography from the Ediacaran through early Paleozoic and persistence of a provenance distinction within the autochthonous Iberian Massif. Consistent northward paleofl ow within widespread northeast African lower Paleozoic sedi mentary cover suggests long-distance sedimen tary transport across a North African peneplain from outlying basement terranes. We propose that the 2300-kmlong Cantabrian-Central Iberian portion of the early Paleozoic Gondwana margin stretched east-west along the northern limits of the then low-lying Saharan Metacraton and Arabian-Nubian Shield. Accepting paleomagnetic constraints, a 90° counterclockwise rotation is required to reorient the Iberian portion to a pre-oroclinal (Late Carboniferous) north-south trend. The mechanisms for accommodating such a rotation are unclear.
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