The birth of supercontinents

The Proterozoic Eon — between 2500 and 541 million years from the present (Ma) — spans nearly two billion years of Earth’s history and represents a time of great change for Earth-systems’ processes. The geology of Western Australia records an almost uninterrupted history of Proterozoic tectonics, including the assembly and dispersal of the Archean cratons into global-scale supercontinents, as well as worldwide glaciations or ‘snowball Earth’ events. By the end of the Proterozoic, Western Australia was starting to take on a familiar outline.

The eastern (stratigraphically lower) part of the section through the Duck Creek Dolomite, Duck Creek, looking north
The eastern (stratigraphically lower) part of the section through the Duck Creek Dolomite, Duck Creek, looking north

Cover of the book

This book is published under the banner of WA Unearthed, a series that progressively chronicles the geological evolution of Western Australia

What is in the book?

The Proterozoic assembly of Western Australia condenses in only 86 pages nearly 2000 million years of geological history for the State, with a breakdown into the following chapters:

  • The supercontinent cycle in relation to Australia
  • The construction of Nuna (2500–1700 Ma)
  • A stable supercontinent? (1700–1400 Ma)
  • The demise of Nuna? (1400–1150 Ma)
  • The assembly, stabilization, and break-up of Rodinia (1150–750 Ma)
  • Growing Gondwana: the heart of a supercontinent (570–500 Ma)

The Proterozoic events of Western Australia are synthetized in a time-space plot, and a cladogram illustrates the assembly history of the Australian cratonic blocks. The book is full of colourful photos and illustrative figures. It has interesting pull-out boxes with simple explanations and many detailed maps of Western Australia.

How to access the book

The birth of supercontinents and the Proterozoic assembly of Western Australia by Simon P Johnson is available at a cost of $33 (including GST). To buy a hardcopy, please email bookshop@dmirs.wa.gov.au. Order five or more copies and get the books for a special discounted price of $22 each.

Moderately south-dipping recrystallized quartzites of the Stirling Range Formation, Barren Basin, Albany–Fraser Orogen. View from top of Bluff Knoll, looking east
Moderately south-dipping recrystallized quartzites of the Stirling Range Formation, Barren Basin, Albany–Fraser Orogen. View from top of Bluff Knoll, looking east.
Time-space plot of Proterozoic events in Western Australia
Time-space plot of Proterozoic events in Western Australia. Refer to the book for symbol explanations.

The birth of supercontinents and the Proterozoic assembly of Western Australia