Evidence is presented here from the northern Scandinavian Caledonides for development of an extensional basin of Ashgill to Mid Llandovery age along the Baltoscandian margin immediately prior to Baltica-Laurentia collision. U/Pb multigrain and ion microprobe zircon dating of plagiogranites in the Halti Igneous Complex complement previous baddeleyite and zircon dating of a dolerite dyke, and zircon dating of anatectic granite; they demonstrate that this dunite, troctolite, gabbro, sheeted-dyke complex ranges in age from c. 445 to 435 Ma. The dolerite dykes intruded and melted arkoses of inferred Neoproterozoic age. This evidence, taken together with previous documentation of ophiolites (Solund-Stavfjord), ophiolite-like associations (Sulitjelma Igneous Complex) and several other mafic suites (e.g. Rana, Artfjallet) of Ashgill to Llandovery age further south in the northern Scandinavian Caledonides, implies that Scandian collisional orogeny along this nearly 2000-km-long mountain belt was immediately preceeded by development of short-lived marginal basins. The latter developed during the final closure of the Iapetus Ocean and are inferred to be of back-arc origin, some (perhaps all) related to E-dipping subduction. Collision of the continents at c. 435 Ma is inferred to have induced a flip in subduction polarity, leading to underthrusting of Laurentia by Baltica.
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