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Earth-Science Reviews 50 2000.

77111
www.elsevier.comrlocaterearscirev

The origin and evolution of the South American Platform


Fernando Flavio
Marques de Almeida a, Benjamim Bley de Brito Neves b,1,
Celso Dal Re Carneiro c,)
a

Department of Mining, Escola Politecnica,


Uniersidade de Sao

Paulo; Alameda Franca 432, Apart. 9, 01422-000, Sao


Paulo SP, Brazil
b
Department of Geology, Instituto de Geociencias,
Uniersidade de Sao

Paulo, P.O. Box 11 348, 05422-970, Sao


Paulo SP, Brazil
c
Department of Geosciences Applied to Teaching, Instituto de Geociencias,
Uniersidade Estadual de Campinas, P.O. Box 6152,

13083-970, Campinas SP, Brazil


Received 9 March 1998; accepted 14 November 1999

Abstract
The South American Platform is defined as the stable continental portion of the South American plate not affected by the
Phanerozoic Caribbean and Andean orogenic zones. It is surrounded by these orogenic zones and extends to the
marginal Atlantic coast. The basement of the platform consists of Archean and Proterozoic continental crusts arranged
during three main sets of orogenic events: 1. Trans-Amazonian Paleoproterozoic., 2. Late Mesoproterozoic and 3.
BrasilianorPan African. The latter resulted in the consolidation of the youngest mobile belts of the platform basement. It is,
by far, the main phenomenon responsible for the overall pattern of tectonic components cratonic nuclei and fold belts. and
the formation of the general structural framework at the time when the platform was a portion of the Gondwana
supercontinent. During the Phanerozoic Eon, different cover stages were developed through six main sedimentary cratonic
sequences, of which the last one is exclusive to the South American continent. The final individualization stages and their
respective post-Paleozoic sequences were accompanied by a series of specific intracratonic processes, both tectonic rift
basins, overprint of new structural styles in previous basins. and magmatic basaltic and alkaline.. The activation processes
have generally been attributed to the opening of the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Andean orogeneses on the north and
west. Nevertheless, a minor part of these events may have been caused by sublithospheric actions mantle-activated
processes. beneath the interior of the platform. q 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: tectonics; South America; platform; basement; platform covers; Archean, Proterozoic; Phanerozoic

1. Introduction
This paper aims to synthesize the present state-ofthe-art of the geological knowledge on the origin and
)

Corresponding author. Fax: q55-19-289-1562.


E-mail addresses: ffma@vol.com.br F.F.M. de Almeida.,
bbleybn@usp.br B.B. de Brito Neves., cedrec@ige.unicamp.br
C. Dal Re Carneiro..
1
Fax: q55-11-210-4958.

evolution of the South American Platform, the oldest


part of the South American Plate.
Two of the present authors BBBN and CDRC.
think that it is time to update the most quoted paper
on Brazilian tectonics: the classical 36-page Brazilian National Department for Mineral Resources Production DNPM. Bulletin 241, Origin and Evolution
of the Brazilian Platform Origem e Eolucao
da
Plataforma Brasileira., by Almeida, 1967 following
Almeida, 1966.: this broad synthesis on the Brazilian

0012-8252r00r$ - see front matter q 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 0 1 2 - 8 2 5 2 9 9 . 0 0 0 7 2 - 0

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F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

Geology was written before the development of the


new global tectonics, with emphasis on the Precambrian basement, as well as delineating the most
promising research lines to be followed. We try to
consider as much as possible all the produced geological information since the appearance of the two
papers of Almeida 1966, 1967.. All zones of the
entire continent have been investigated under different detail levels and at present the overall picture is
better known. The present progress on Brazilian
geology may be evaluated in books Almeida and
Hasui, 1984; Schobbenhaus et al., 1984., continental-scale geological maps of Brazil 1984, scale
1:2,500,000, published by DNPM researchers and
colaborators; Delgado and Pedreira, 1995, scale
1:7,000,000. and South America DNPM, 1997,

1:5,000,000, unpublished., although many maps and


reports still remain unpublished. Most of the published material is in Portuguese, a fact that highlights
the interest of such an essay. Facing the progress of
the geological knowledge on other better-studied
continents, the authors believe that such a synthetic
picture may help comparisons.
In its modern concept, a platform or craton.
represents a stable continental part of a plate, i.e., a
stable portion of the Earths crust adjoining one or
more active mobile belts Sengor,
1990; Park and
Jaroszewski, 1994.. For South America, it means the
relatively undeformed portion of the continental
landmass during Mesozoic and Cenozoic times, not
strongly affected by the Andean and Caribbean.
orogenic processes from Venezuela in the north to

Fig. 1. Situation map of: 1. the South American Platform; 2. Phanerozoic covers; 3. Andean fold belt.

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

Argentina in the south at the northern border of the


Sierra de La Ventana fold belt.
Our major objective is to update the paper of
Almeida 1967. and to evaluate if the available data
support the initial definition of such platform. Some
research needs seem to have been overcome, some
remain, and new ones have naturally appeared. Even
the expression, South American Almeida et al.,
1978. instead of Brazilian Platform, has been
changed, because the former fits the geological limits
of the stable portion of the continental plate better
Fig. 1.. In fact, the limits are surely not confined
within any geographicalpolitical boundaries.
The reader should keep in mind that such an
exercise involving 3.5 Ga of geological development
and more than 10,000,000 km2 requires some pretentiousness. So, naturally such an intention faces some
risks, as well as imperfections. All criticism is welcome as a profitable tool for the improvement of a
future version.
During more than three decades, the Brazilian
tectonic and geological knowledge has experienced a
great progress. Some models have guided such research since the middle of the 60s. The former
influence of the geosynclinal theory was slowly replaced by the original Plate Tectonics towards the
new Global Tectonics see, among others, Moores
and Twiss, 1995, Kearey and Vine, 1996.. In Brazil,
basic nationwide mappings have been conducted by
the DNPMCPRM 2 system, the RadamBrasil Project, and state-owned mining and research institutions, as well as by private mineral companies and
public universities. These latter have received modern equipment for isotopic and geochemical analyses, geophysical prospecting, etc., and have graduated hundreds of MS and PhD students. A large
amount of new data has been generated by state
institutions and by working agreements between universities and foreign research centers. The growth in
geological research was recorded in 20 national geological congresses since 1967 with annals., a countless regional symposia, and also in a series of papers
in international periodicals.

2
CPRM the Brazilian Company of Mineral Resources,
aiming to operate as the Brazilian Geological Surey.

79

2. Geology
Relatie stability is one defining characteristic of
a platform. The main stabilization phase of the South
American Platform was achieved by the transition
CambrianOrdovician. The concept of platform stability has been strengthened in the general scope of
new global tectonics Brito Neves and Alkmim, 1993;
Park and Jaroszewski, 1994., resulting in objective
e.g., absence of orogenic diastrophism. and subjective implications of the concept. For a given platform
some additional geological attributes have been recognized within well-defined time limits in
relation to a previously defined mobile belt:
- Antiquity is the first one, for the common fact
that Archean and Proterozoic rocks usually dominate such basement domains.
- Transitority is an essential characteristic, as it
involves a long history of evolutionary tectonic
phases.
- Diersity of structural associations in the framework of the basement and of some well-defined
cover sequences Phanerozoic or older..
Local occurrences of Precambrian cratonic sublithospheric processes mantle-activated. as well as
records of cratonic tectonic activation lithosphereactivated. are common; these are promoted by deformation associated with surrounding younger mobile
belts. Besides all these qualitative criteria are oftenquoted geophysical characteristics, such as large
lithosphere thickness, low seismicity rates, moderate
to low heat-flow conditions and geothermal gradients, etc. Park and Jaroszewski, 1994.. All of them
are rather well recorded in this platform.
The records of the evolution of the platform
basement began in the Archean Table 1.. Most
radiometric ages belong to the Neo-Archean 2.82.5
Ga. but there is also an important number of values
of Meso-Archean times 3.22.8 Ga. and a few of
Palaeo-Archean ages 3.63.2 Ga, chiefly younger
than 3.4 Ga.. The group of older ages tends to be
enlarged with the increasing sophistication of isotopic analyses see Table 1 and Brito Neves and
Sato, 1998.. Fig. 2 is a situation map of the quoted
geographical names, rivers, states, the principal cities
and localities, but the reader is addressed to available
detailed maps for a precise location.

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F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

Table 1
The main tectonic events in the basement of the South American Platform, from the younger ones to the oldest:
10. Orogenic events of the Brasiliano collage, diachronous from a structural province to another. The last time interval 0.540.50 Ga. is
characterized by escape tectonics and fissural magmatism.
9. SunsasAguape belt, southwestern part of the Amazonian region BrazilBolivia., low-grade volcano-sedimentary assemblages.
- Cariris Velhos orogenic event a Wilsonian Cycle. along the central part of the Borborema Province.
8. Orogenic events in the southwestern part of the Amazonian region:
- GuaporerRondonianrSan
Ignacio 1.451.30 Ga..

- Disputable orogenic events in the southwestern part of the Central Goias


Massif Uruacuano Belt, high-grade rocks. and along the
Espinhaco range Central Bahia and Minas Gerais, low-grade assemblages..
7. Widespread events of extensional tectonics Statherian Taphrogenesis..
- The Rio NegroJuruena Orogenesis arc plutonism. in the central-western Amazonian region is the unique evidence for plate
interactions.
6. Trans-Amazonian Orogeneses: main deformational events of Paleoproterozoic mobile belts. Granitic plutonism.
5. Some occurrences of metamorphic events, high-grade gneisses. Local juvenile rock-formation event.
4. Local occurrences of metamorphic events and granite plutonism.
3. High diversity of rock assemblages: orthogneisses Trondhjemites, tonalites, granodiorites, monzogranite and granites, TTG suites.,
gneissic granulites of both igneous and sedimentary origins., maficultramafic complexes, noritic dikes; volcano-sedimentary piles
Grao-Para

Group., greenstone belt associations, etc.


2. Widespread occurrences of high-grade terranes, mainly orthogneisses, and the oldest known occurrences of granite-greenstone LTG.
assemblages.
1. Sparse occurrences of high-grade complexes.

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

81

Fig. 2. Situation map of the quoted geographical names, rivers, main cities, states and localities.

All known up to now. Archean nuclei Fig. 3.


have in some way been involved in the structural
framework of the mobile belts of the three major
subsequent Precambrian orogenic events: TransamazonianrEburnean mainly. in Paleoproterozoic times,
2.21.8 Ga; Late Mesoproterozoic, 1.30.95 Ga;
and BrasilianorPan African, 0.90.5 Ga. During

such collages, plate interactions reached their climaxes, thus forming and successively reworking a
series of accretionary, collisional or transpressional
mobile belts, which formed different supercontinental domains. A high diversity of mineral deposits as,
for instance, gold Martini 1998. was formed due to
these processes. The existing names for such super-

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Fig. 3. Archean nuclei and Paleoproterozoic mobile belts of the South American Platform.

continental collage domains are Atlantica Ledru et


al., 1994; Rogers, 1996. in the Paleoproterozoic,
Rodinia Hoffman, 1991; Unrug, 1996. at the time of
the MesoproterozoicNeoproterozoic boundary, and

Western Gondwana e.g., Unrug, 1996, among others., from the end of the Neoproterozoic to the
beginning of the Phanerozoic. There is a clear unanimity among Brazilian Earth scientists on the con-

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

cept of this later supercontinental accretion as well


as on a younger one, the Late PaleozoicrTriassic
Pangea.
After the formation of each of these major collages, there were phases of taphrogenic processes
with widespread continental break-up rifting, dispersion, occasionally fission., thus providing the justaccreted supercontinental landmass of which the
South American Platform was part. with important
sites of intracratonic sedimentation and anorogenic
magmatism Almeida and Hasui, 1984; Schobbenhaus et al., 1984.. The records of lithological assemblages and other structural patterns for these kinds of
intracratonic Proterozoic events after the TransAmazonian collage are well represented in the Amazonian northern part. and Sao
Francisco regions
central to eastern part. of the platform Brito Neves
et al. 1995..
During the Late Paleozoic, the collage made by
the Hercynian cycle was responsible for the formation of a new supercontinent, Pangea. The South
American Platform area remained relatively stable
during the subsequent break-up of Pangea, from the
end of the Triassic, and during the different Cretaceous stages of the Atlantic opening and related
events. The same is true in the development of the
Pacific and Caribbean active and transform margins,
from that same time span up to now. This continental
portion has been persistently stable even if one considers the tectonic and magmatic processes that occurred in its interior, as natural cratonic responses to
the peripheral orogenies and continental break-up at
the surrounding borders.
The Patagonian block, south of the Hercynian
Sierra de la Ventana northeast Argentina. was not
part of the stable platform area. The Patagonian
block was diversely involved in orogenic processes
during the Phanerozoic, as can be seen by its present
shape, dimensions and position among three active
margins only one passive margin, on the east., and
because of the relatively young thermal age of its
basement mainly Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic..
It is not an easy task to define a western limit
Figs. 1 and 3. between the platform the stable area.
and the activatedrregenerated zones related to the
Andean and Caribbean orogens for two main reasons. The lack of reliable geological and geophysical

83

data does not allow a good definition of the entire


boundary zone. Moreover, any limit made at this
stage would be arbitrary. Generally, this western
boundary of the stable area is parallel to the western
Brazilian to western Uruguay and Paraguay. border,
but it is not a straight line. Actually, parts of the
Brazilian territory Acre, Solimoes
Basin, Pantanal
area, etc.. show some tectonic influence folding,
shearing etc.. from the Andean Chain.
As mentioned before, in the basement of the
South American Platform, the BrasilianorPan-African collage succeeds two previous ones of similar
extent and importance. The succession of interconnected Brasiliano orogeneses formed the last fundamental tectonic and structural arrangements for the
basement of this platform. Therefore, all rocks and
structures of the Precambrian Eon, of the Neoproterozoic and older eras, are somehow subordinated to
the framework of the Brasiliano collage.
All the orogenic phases of the Brasiliano collage
are not precisely known and one should not expect
that they have been synchronic from one structural
province to another Table 1.. Some modern
geochronological data Chemale, 1998; Brito Neves
and Sato, 1998. have preliminarily indicated the
main events of plate interactions are ca. 750 and 600
Ma, for most of the Brazilian structural provinces
Almeida and Hasui, 1984.. Younger accretionary
events ca. 580550 Ma. have been detected only in
the southeastern part of the Platform at the Mantiqueira Province, Fig. 2, from Rio de Janeiro to
Esprito
Santo. the Rio Doce Orogeny and in
the southwestern part of the Platform Pampean
Province, in Argentina., but all these records need
additional data. From the Neoproterozoic III ca. 590
Ma. up to the beginning of the Ordovician ca. 500
Ma., an important group of tectonic events have
been recognized wich are connected to the latest
phases of the Brasiliano collage.: collisional impactogenesis, extrusion or escape tectonics, post-orogenic collapse, etc. Many of these intracratonic postcollisional events of some provinces were coeval to
the above-mentioned youngest accretionary orogenies Pampean and Rio Doce. of other provinces.
Stabilization of the basement structures and full
platformal conditions only appeared at the beginning
of the Ordovician Period but the age for the final
individualization of this platform is the Mesozoic

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F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

Era after continental drift.. During the Phanerozoic,


pre-Ordovician Brasiliano structures provided different types of tectonic heritage for the development of
the sedimentary platform cover in all types of basins.
This is the case of the precursor CambrianEarly
Ordovician rifts of the Paleozoic syneclises, the arrangement of isopach lines in the syneclises, the
internal and external shapes of all sedimentary basins
and specially the particular case of the Mesozoic
Cenozoic rift-basins. These effects are common for
all Paleozoic basins, but they are conspicuous in
post-Triassic taphrogenic basins Cordani et al.,
1984. linked to the Atlantic opening.

3. The Archean
The available isotopic data for this eon can be
placed more specifically in three time intervals: 3.4
3.2, 3.02.8, and 2.72.5 Ga from the Paleo-Archean
to the Neo-Archean. The frequency order of ages is
inverted due to a small critical number of isotopic
data. The values obtained up to now are not enough
to discriminate evolutionary stages for any Archean
nuclei in South American. The present geographicalgeological areas for the Archean nuclei themselves are relatively modest in size, even though
there is evidence that they were more extensive,
shown by the common occurrence of reworked protoliths in the interior of Paleoproterozoic mobile
belts Cordani and Brito Neves, 1982.. Also, it is
plausible to expect greater former extents, because of
the embryonic stage of geochronological research in
this continent RbrSr and KrAr are still are the
predominating methodologies of analyses.. This scenario may change in the future, with progress in
isotopic research and through the use of more powerful methods.
The Archean lithostructural types, regardless of
the above-mentioned comments and age intervals,
fully confirm the classical pair of terranes of the
platform basement of the world: 1. high-grade orthogneisses of TTG-suite, granulitic orthogneisses,
maficultramafic bodies; and 2. low-grade greenstone belts and similar volcano-sedimentary associations. Besides these granitegreenstone terranes,
other less common lithotypes have been identified in

both marine and continental environments. Among


the less common lithotypes are: volcano-sedimentary
sequences of mantle-activated rifts such as the Grao

Para Group, Serra dos Carajas


mineral province
Macambira and Lafon, 1995.; diversified sedimentary and volcano-sedimentary sequences quartzitic,
peraluminous, calc-silicate-rich, manganese and
iron-rich rock assemblages.; as paragneisses and orthogneisses possessing crustal affiliation, important
migmatization processes, local maficultramafic dike
swarms, etc. References for these Archean types may
be found in the Extended Abstracts of a symposium
held in Brasilia by the Sociedade Brasileira de Geologia 1996..
Usually, larger Archean nuclei occur as central
core areas bound by Paleoproterozoic mobile belts.
The size of these nuclei is variable but only a few,
like the Xingu block, in the Amazonian craton, are
of large dimensions Fig. 3.. The Archean lithotypes
are mainly preserved and best represented in
Fig. 4.,
order of importance in the Amazonia

Sao
Lus
Francisco Fig. 5., GoiasTocantins,

AlvesRio de La Plata blocks Fig. 6.. These blocks


are only continental fractions of Neoproterozoic
plates that played the role of cratonic areas during
the Brasiliano collage. It is not advisable to assign
full cratonic characteristics even to these larger blocks
as is usual in other continents, because of the
widespread processes of structural reworking, magmatism and heating from the surrounding mobile
belts, specially those produced by the TransAmazonian collage.
Smaller occurrences of Archean rock assemblages
are almost completely masked in the remote interior
of Trans-Amazonian belts Ledru et al. 1994.. They
are defined as basement inliers Cordani and Brito
Neves, 1982., where rejuvenating processes are conspicuous and previous tectonic behavior is difficult
to decipher.
There are minor occurrences of Archean rocks in
the interior of all Brasiliano provinces outside the
Paleoproterozoic structural domains including both
the above described Archean nuclei and the
Trans-Amazonian mobile belts. of the Neoproterozoic plates Brasiliano cratons or large massifs.
and other large lithospheric segments. These minor
occurrences used to play two special roles: a.
tectonic highs or local uplifted basement blocks,

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

85

Fig. 4. A general sketch-map for the northern part of the South American Platform 1. Guyanas and 2. Guapore shields with
emphasis on the Archean nuclei and the surrounding Paleoproterozoic MaroniItacaiunasq VentuariTapajos,
Rio NegroJuruena. mobile
belts. The westernmost part of this Brasiliano Amazonian craton is composed of the Mesoproterozoic to Early Neoproterozoic. fold belts of
San Ignacio
and SunsasAguape,
in the BrazilianBolivian territories based on Tassinari et al., 1996..

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F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

Fig. 5. The central and central-eastern part of the South American Platform. The main Paleoproterozoic Trans-Amazonian. mobile belts of
Eastern Bahia and Western Bahia surround the Archean cratonic nuclei. Links among the Western Bahia Belt, Mineiro belt south of the Sao

Francisco craton. and the Ticunzal and Eastern Goias


Paleoproterozoic occurrences have been sketched. An outline for the Neoproterozoic.
Sao
Francisco craton is drawn only for reference.

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

87

Fig. 6. The Joinville Massif, positioned between three Brasiliano areasrfold belts. The main central area north of Blumenau Lus

Alves craton. is formed by high-grade Archean rocks reworked during the Trans-Amazonian collage. The Curitiba area, marginal to the
Ribeira belt marginal massif. is part of the same Trans-Amazonian collage but reworked at deeper crustal levels during the Brasiliano
events based on Basei et al., 1998..

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F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

and b. places where Proterozoic supracrustals Meso


and Neoproterozoic in age. have been locally vanished through drastic erosion and the basement may
crop out.
It is not yet possible to discriminate Archean
cycles for the basement of the South American Platform due to the small number of isotopic data, and
the common reworking during later events. The
Archean terranes rarely may be considered to be
autonomous structures during Paleoproterozoic at a
regional scale of analysis. These terranes had short
periods of stability because they were reworked at
different degrees. during the successive Paleoproterozoic accretionary and collisional events. Among
the available geochronological and geological data
the most important group seems to be the final
events of the Archean 2.72.5 Ga., Jequie Cycle
and Rio das Velhas event, as they have been
informally named. At this time many continental
landmasses were consolidated, with repercussions to
the further general geological conditions of the Paleoproterozoic.

4. The Paleoproterozoic
4.1. Distribution
Paleoproterozoic terranes predominate in most of
the platform lithospheric blocks, with only rare exceptions, like Pampia and Rio Apa which have
provided only Mesoproterozoic age data up to now..
Moreover, many portions of the primary extension of
the Paleoproterozoic units and terranes have frequently been masked due to the tectono-magmatic
reworking resulting from subsequent Proterozoic
orogenic processes such as Rio NegroJuruena. and
collages.
Palinspastic Paleoproterozoic reconstructions must
take into account different types of volcano-sedimentary and sedimentary basins dalas, intracratonic syneclises, rifts, continental margins, small
oceanic basins and arc-related basins which developed on and around the rigid substratum of the
Archean landmasses. Subsequently, such basins
gradually underwent further plate interaction processes and were reworked at different crustal levels.,

reflecting a series of accretionary and collisional


orogens between 2.2 and 1.8 Ga.
There are few radiometric ages between 2.5 and
2.1 Ga Machado et al. 1996. for those early Paleoproterozoic volcano-sedimentary basin fills, ancient
restructured contexts being even rarer. A significant
number of nonsynchronous ages are available for the
main subsequent orogenic phases from one orogenic
zone to another Sabate et al., 1990, Ledru et al.,
1994.: the data are distributed from 2.2 up to 1.8 Ga,
i.e., from the end of the Rhyacian 2.302.05 Ga. up
to the end of the Orosirian 2.051.80 Ga. periods.
The development of the Trans-Amazonian belts from
northern Amazonia to Argentina. is therefore assumed to be a result of a series of continuous and
interrelated orogenic processes accretionary and collisional., or a collage, which lasted until the end of
Orosirian time. For the stable surrounding areas
Archean blocks. a series of coeval and later.
tectonic events of continental scale took place as
anorogenic and post-orogenic granitic plutonism,
subvolcanic, intermediate extrusive and explosive
volcanism of acid character Surumu and equivalent
groups in Guyanas and Venezuela., shearing tectonics escape tectonics?. accompanied by syenitic intrusives, etc. Even thick detritical sedimentary sequences of platform type were developed locally
Roraima group. in the same time span pre-1.8 Ga.,
while elsewhere surrounding the Amazonian blocks
and others., many orogenic belts of the same collage
were active.
The above described records are widespread all
over the South American Platform, offering some
kind of obstacles for the acceptance of the new
IUGS time-scale Plumb, 1991., which prescribes
1.6 Ga for the end of the Paleoproterozoic. Many
Brazilian geologists have suggested 1.8 Ga end of
the Orosirian period. to be the end of this Proterozoic Era, because of the continental importance of
the Trans-Amazonian collage.
In the Statherian period 1.801.60 Ga., after the
Trans-Amazonian collage, widespread phenomena of
epeirogenesis subsequent to crustal thickening and
granitogenesis. and taphrogenesis Brito Neves et al.,
1995. took place in this new super.continental landmass. Such intracratonic tectonic events an inseparable feature of the Paleoproterozoic platform
were characterized by extensional processes, rifting

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

with formation of volcano-sedimentary basins, mafic


dike-swarms, acid to intermediate volcanism extrusive, explosive, subvolcanic., maficultramafic plutonism, etc. It is possible that the extensional processes locally led to the formation of oceanic floor
Pimentel et al., 1998a,b. as in the western part of
GoiasTocantins
massif the Juscelandia,
Indianopo

lis and Palmeiropolis


sequences. and in the central
western part of the Amazonian region, previous sites
for the Rio NegroJuruena belt. For the latter, there
is strong evidence for a complete evolution of an
accretionary orogen, since the formation of an
oceanic floor up to a final coalescence of magmatic
arcs during this period Tassinari et al., 1996..
In the northern part of the platform the Amazonian region, Fig. 4., the Trans-Amazonian mobile
belts surround the Xingu Macambira and Lafon,
1995. and Pakaraima Archean blocks Cordani and
Brito Neves, 1982.. These belts include a series of
minor Archean crustal fragments as basement inliers.
Some of them received classical names in geological
literature such as Adampada, Imataca, Kanuku, etc.
Schobbenhaus et al. 1984.. To the west, fragments
of the Trans-Amazonian collage are still present as
interior remnants isotopically detected. in the whole
Rio NegroJuruena belt Sato and Tassinari, 1996.;
and even further to the west of this belt, these
fragments are being found in the basement of the
Mesoproterozoic belts on the BrazilBolivia boundary zone Lomas Maneche Group, Litherland et al.,
1986..
These facts confirm that Trans-Amazonian collages have dominated the whole northern part of this
platform. In the central and eastern-central part of
the continent, the Trans-Amazonian mobile belts
Fig. 5. also include some internal reworked Archean
fragments the basement of Rio ItapicururSerrinha
greenstone belt, Jequie block, Santa Izabel gneissgranulitic belt, etc.. and circumscribe very large
Archean blocks, like GaviaoLenc
ois

central Bahia.,
south of Minas Gerais, Fig.
Campo BeloClaudio

3. and that in the central part of the GoiasTocantins

massif granitegreenstone terranes domain.. All of


these Archean blocks present some kind of Paleoproterozoic reworking.
The Eastern Bahia mobile belt III in Fig. 5.,
which is sometimes called Atlantico
or Salva
dor-Juazeiro, probably continued northwards into

89

the basement of Borborema Province Pernambuco


Alagoas, Caldas Brandao
and Rio Piranhas massifs.,
where it was deeply and diversely reworked by
Brasiliano and other events. The Western Bahia mobile belt II in Fig. 5. crops out in small areas,
because of the extensive Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic platform covers, but there are probably
southern links with the so-called Mineiro belt
Teixeira et al., 1996. of the Quadrilatero
Ferrfero

area in Minas Gerais. It may also extend farther west


to the eastern Goias
State, where some lithostructural
units of similar nature and age occur Ticunzal
Group..
For the southeastern and southern Brazilian states,
Trans-Amazonian terranes often occur as part of the
infrastructure of the Brasiliano belts. They are diversely reworked and usually difficult to be recognized. Many occurrences of Trans-Amazonian rock
units have been detected in the basement of the
Aracua belt Guanhaes,
Itacambira-Barrocao,

Gouvea,
blocks or rock units., Paraba
do Sul belt
Juiz de Fora, Quirino-Dorania
and Cabo Frio groups,
blocks or rock units., in the Ribeira belt Embu
terrane.. These Paleoproterozoic occurrences are
noteworthy in the Joinville Massif Hasui et al.
1975. between the Brasiliano Ribeira and Dom Feliciano belts, in two different domains Fig. 6.. They
are found not only in the southern marginal zone of
the Ribeira belt Curitiba Domain, Siga, 1995., where
Trans-Amazonian orthogneisses occur as paleosomes
of Brasiliano migmatites, but also all over the domain of gneissicgranulitic rocks with maficultramafic bodies included. of the region of Lus
Alves
Barra Velha Lus
Alves Craton., in Santa Catarina
state, of primary Archean ages Fig. 6.. For these
Archean domains there is evidence Siga, 1995. of
mesozonal Trans-Amazonian reworking isotopic resetting included..
Important Trans-Amazonian structures occur once
again in the southern portion of the platform, as a
dominant part of the Rio de La Plata Craton basement in central Uruguay and northern Argentina
Fig. 7.. High-grade rocks some greenstone belts.
are dominant with typical eastwest structural trends,
orthogonal to the bordering Brasiliano belts of the
Pampean province, Cordoban to the west, Argentina. and Dom Feliciano to the east, Brazil and
Uruguay..

90

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

Fig. 7. The Neoproterozoic blocks large, intermediate and small.


and the different types of Neoproterozoic fold belts surrounding
and among them. The informal classification used for these belts
is that of Condie, 1989, with some minor modifications. The
Neoproterozoic blocks of the southwest part of the figure were
diversely reworked partially regenerated. by Hercynian and Andean orogeneses AA, PA, RP., and they are out of the platform
domains. CA Amazonian; PR Parnaba;
SLWA Sao

LusWest
Africa; RN Rio Grande do Norte Caldas Brandao

qRio Piranhas massifsqbasement of Serido belt.; SFCKA


Sao
FranciscoCongoKasaiAngola; AA ) ArequipaAntofalla; PA Pampia; RP Rio de La Plata; PP Paranapanema; KAL Kalahari.

Therefore, for most of the central, southeastern


and southern parts of the platform, the original features and structures of the Trans-Amazonian mobile
belts have been diversely fragmented; they play dif-

ferent roles as pieces of the basement of younger


mobile belts, each of them within a particular level
of crustal reworking. Trans-Amazonian structures are
well preserved only in Rio de La Plata Craton Dalla
Salda et al., 1998..
Common geological features of the Paleoproterozoic mobile belts as final results of wide plate tectonic interactions may be summarized as follows:
a. Supracrustal sequences of extensional basins
of continental basement rifts, syneclises, passive
margins, etc., with predominating clastic quartzites,
U- and Au-bearing conglomerates. and chemicalclastic composition Fe- and Mn-bearing schists.,
partially to strongly involved in the Trans-Amazonian
deformation such as Parima, Kwitaro, Coeroeni, Jacobina, Colomi, Areiao,
Minas, Ticunzal, Cantagalo
Groups or Supergroups., etc.
b. Volcano-sedimentary supracrustal sequences
of oceanic affiliation, back-arc type and similar basins
active rifts., generally attributed to greenstone belts,
like those of the BaramaMazaruni Supergroup s. l.
from Venezuela to Amapa ., ContendasMirante,
SerrinharRio Itapicuru Bahia ., etc. These
supracrustal rocks occur in independent basins
parallel or longitudinal to the former ones. and they
may also underlie the abovementioned extensional
sequences.
c. Gneissic-granulitic orthogneisses, diversely
sorted rocks, of basic tholeiitic., intermediate to
acid tonalitic, trondhjemitic,
granodioritic and

granitic., from low- to high-potassium shoshonitic.


content, usually strongly deformed rocks, which
originated during Paleoproterozoic subduction processes of oceanic realms and later collisional events.
d. Basement inliers of gneiss-migmatitic and
gneiss-granulitic compositions of original Archaen
ages entirely enclosed and submitted to the TransAmazonian trends, which formed microplates, terranes, etc. during the evolutionary history of the
mobile belt.
e. Some long and linear shear zones Sadowski,
1983., some of them accompanied by late orogenic
syenitic and granitic plutons.
The Trans-Amazonian collage, as postulated here,
was responsible for the widespread agglutination of
all continental and microcontinental. nuclei which
were consolidated at the end of the Archean by
means of the Paleoproterozoic mobile belts. Larger

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

nuclei like Pakaraima, Xingu, Gaviao-Lenc


ois,

Central Goias,
etc., Fig. 3. and smaller ones were submitted to different styles of tectonic activation during
the Paleoproterozoic orogenic stages and were assembled together by mobile belts to compose a large
continental landmass around 1.8 Ga Atlantica, as
suggested by Rogers, 1996.. The importance of this
supercontinent, which is very well documented in the
basement of South American and African platforms,
transcends the present geographical limits of both
continents. The connection of orogenic events, acting
together to build a final supercontinental landmass is
the reason for the use of the term collage.
4.2. Tectonic and sedimentary enironments postdating the Trans-Amazonian collage
Different types of tectonic and sedimentary environments have diachronously succeeded the Paleoproterozoic collage, as a physical and natural consequence to lithospheric thickening and growth. There
is a remarkable set of continental-scale linked fault
system mostly normal faults. and related cratogenic
basins rift systems, volcanic traps, minor syneclises.,
mafic dike-swarms and, even, some continental passive margins. The breaking processes of that continental landmass and their related sedimentary mostly
detritical types., volcanic acid, intermediate, mafic
and bimodal groups, dike swarms., volcano-sedimentary, plutonic granites, anorthosites, maficultramafic bodies. lithological records play a special role
in this platform. These post-Trans-Amazonian cratogenic processes are part of a global phenomenon,
and a group of their earlier events 1.8 to 1.6 Ga.
have recently been described as being of special
magnitude, starting the Statherian Taphrogenesis,
according to a synthesis by Brito Neves et al. 1995..
It is difficult to estimate precise time intervals for the
many cratogenic tectonic events paraplatformal
and orthoplataformal which have activated the
post-Trans-Amazonian supercontinental landmass
during a large time span of about 0.9 Ga from 1.8
up to 0.95 Ga. of which the Statherian period seems
to have been only the first remarkable step.
In the present central and western central part of
the Amazonian block and in the western part of the
GoiasTocantins
block, the extensional events seem

91

to have gone beyond the usual limits of a simple


cratogenic tectonics. There are reliable indications,
in the first area, and still disputed data for the second
area due to the lack of accurate geochronology. that
these post-Trans-Amazonian processes evolved, from
rift to drift, and then to the formation of true oceanic
basins, and from these to orogenic belts, first in the
Upper Paleoproterozoic case of Rio NegroJuruena.
and later on during Mesoproterozoic times probable
case of the Uruacuano belt..
During Mesoproterozoic times, many of the Upper Paleoproterozoic linked fault systems and interior basins such as EspinhacoChapada Diamantina
and the Ara belt were submitted to tectonic
inversion. These included a considerable amount of
crustal shortening and formation of elevated orographic features when they were transformed into
special types of ensialic orogens, with characteristic lateral transitions to weakly deformed cratonic
covers.
The sedimentary, volcano-sedimentary and magmatic rock assemblages developed by the Statherian
Taphrogenesis are present from Venezuela
Avanavero, Pedras Pretas mafic magmatism. in the
north of the continent to the northern part of Argentina Tandilia dike-swarm.. Only a minor part of
the assemblages has remained without any tectonic
overprint, such as a flat-lying cover of the lithospheric portions that became Brasiliano cratons. Most
of the Statherian assemblages, as already mentioned,
were partially or totally reactivated in the subsequent
Proterozoic orogenic cycles, in Mesoproterozoic like
EspinhacoChapada Diamantina, Uruacuano, etc.. as
well as in Neoproterozoic times as part of the
Brasiliano belts.. There is a special case of Statherian rock associations that were only deformed during the last Brasiliano group of events, ca. 0.6 Ga.
i.e., about 1.1 Ga after their primary formation, like
in the Jaguaribeano fold belt, Ceara State, Northeast
Brazil.
4.3. Rio NegroJuruena belt
The Rio NegroJuruena belt, where a complete
evolution of an accretionary fold belt is recorded for
the Statherian period, seems to be unique Tassinari
et al., 1996.. It occupies a wide space of the central
part of the Amazonian block from the north Vene-

92

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

zuela and Brazil. to the south at the small Rio Apa


block BrazilParaguay boundary.. Its lateral limits
are still poorly defined, both to the east TransAmazonianrPaleoproterozoic belts. and to the west
Mesoproterozoic belts.. It is mainly composed of
gneissic and migmatitic rocks of granitic, granodioritic and tonalitic nature, with occasional preserved
supracrustal assemblages, which follow a dominant
NWSW trend. Granitization, migmatization phenomena and high-grade metamorphism upper amphibolite facies. predominate along the entire belt;
granulitic rocks are local.
Important series of anorogenic plutonic rocks and
some other volcano-sedimentary assemblages of
cover rocks characterize this graniticmigmatitic belt
as a result of younger Paleoproterozoic to Mesoproterozoic cratogenic episodes namely Parguazense,
Madeira, etc... The general knowledge of this belt is
not yet satisfactory; problems still remain unsolved
as the concept of the Rio NegroJuruena belt is
derived from geochonological reconaissances rather
than from geological fieldwork. From Tassinari
1981. to Tassinari et al. 1996., the amount of
geochonological data have increased considerably.
With the abovementioned circumstances, where
the coherence of various geochronological data are
doubtless remarkable including SmNd investigations, Sato and Tassinari, 1996. this belt has been
interpreted as a product of the coalescence of magmatic arcs between 1.751.55 Ga, following subduction processes of oceanic realms and adding juvenile
components to the continental lithosphere. The above
described anorogenic plutonic rocks and platform
covers display ages varying from 1.6 up to 1.0 Ga
and most of them postdate the main belt development.

5. The Mesoproterozoic
5.1. Distribution
The geological information on the Mesoproterozoic in South America is largely heterogeneous both
in quality and quantity. In many aspects, the cratogenic events show some degree of similarity with
those of the upper part of Paleoproterozoic
Statherian..

The exuberance of such preserved occurrences


should be emphasized areas of millions of square
kilometers Schobbenhaus et al. 1984. without
any similar good expositions in the world Brito
Neves et al., 1995., even though some of them are
found in the Amazonian rain forest. Sedimentary and
volcano-sedimentary basins of different nature and
types, diversified anorogenic plutonism, etc., have
privileged large portions of this supercontinent joined
by the Trans-Amazonian collage before and after
Rio NegroJuruena Orogeny. whose most representative areas are in the Amazonas region and in the
central-eastern part east of meridian 508W Gr.. of
the continent. The pre-Neoproterozoic occurrences
were certainly larger than the present known records.
Although geological knowledge is far from complete, it is possible to describe a series of cratogenic
basins, characterized by different degrees of tectonic
stability which display sedimentary sequences
mostly detritical rocks., volcano-sedimentary flood
basalts and anorogenic volcano-plutonism. Stratigraphic systematizations is difficult because of the
lost original lateral dimensions, erosional descontinuities, partial or total younger tectonic overprints
Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic.. Additionally,
there is a natural problem to be faced: hundreds of
local informal names were introduced by different
geologists working at reconaissance scales. This succession of cratogenic events ranges in time from the
Late Paleoproterozoic up to the beginning of the
Neoproterozoic from 1.91.8 up to 0.95 Ga..
Part of these events should represent tectonic
responses of the interior of the continental plate to
plate interactions at their margins like Rio Negro
Juruena, San Ignacio,
SunsasAguape,

etc... There
is another series of cratogenic events displaying evidence of autonomous processes of sublithospheric
activation mantle-activated areas and rifts. such as
Cachoeira Seca, Quarenta Ilhas, Nova Floresta all of them in the Amazonian region.,
Salvador-Ilheus
and similar mafic magmatism

post-Espinhaco belt Bahia., etc., which have provided important tholeiitic basic and alkaline magmatism.
In the interior of some Brasiliano fold belts, away
from the cratonic domains for this cycle, part of the
same Paleo and Mesoproterozoic rock units of a
previous cratogenic nature. are present; some of

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

them have already been mapped in Riacho do Pontal, Aracua,


Brasilia belts, etc... Many others may
occur, but the discrimination is difficult due to the
tectonic overprint of the Neoproterozoic orogeneses.
5.2. The Mesoproterozoic collage
Mesoproterozoic fold belts are a minority in areal
extent among the tectonic realms of the South American Platform. With quite few exceptions, the Mesoproterozoic mobile belts were the place and target of
strong restructuration as basements of the Neoproterozoic orogens, which have preferred younger
structural sites younger thermal age zones. for their
development. Only Mesoproterozoic mobile belts located in the interior of Brasiliano cratonic domains
could be preserved from the widespread Neoproterozoic regeneration.
The Mesoproterozoic collage, as first assumed
here, seems to have been completed in two main
orogenic phases, ca. 1.3 Ga San IgnaciorGuapore,

Uruacuano, Espinhaco. and ca. 0.95 Ga


SunsasAguape,
Cariris Velhos and possibly the
Grenvillian, to be mentioned.. Even described as
minor in areal extent, such Mesoproterozoic mobile
belts were responsible for the agglutination of a very
large supercontinent, Rodinia according to Hoffman, 1991.. The Paleoproterozoic orogeneses have
already prepared wide stable cratonic areas in order
to assemble such a supercontinent, to which the
Mesoproterozoic mobile belts contributed as complementary and final agents of agglutination.
a. The westernmost remnants of the worldwide
net of Mesoproterozoic mobile belts are now found
in the basement of the Andean Chain, in the north
Garzon-Santa Marta belt. and in the south Occidentalia Terranes., therefore they are not part of
the South American Platform basement. Part of these
western belts may eventually reach the basement of
the South American Platform in the area of the
Pampia block, but such discrimination is beyond the
presently available data. Probably, such belts are
remnants of a greater and longer Mesoproterozoic
orogenic development the Grenvillian. best represented and preserved in the northern platforms.
In the South American Platform, Litherland et al.
1986. have distinguished in the common Brazilian
and Bolivian area in the western Amazonian block

93

two very well-preserved Mesoproterozoic orogenic


developments. The older is the San Ignacio
belt,

composed of schists, meta-arkoses and paragneisses


ca. 1340 Ma., pierced by a considerable amount of
granite ca. 1310 Ma. and characterized by migmatization processes; it is a kind of central nucleus. The
SunsasAguapei belts surround the previous central
nucleus of San Ignacio
structures and are mostly

composed of clastic metasedimentary sequences of


rifts and passive margin settings., mature and immature rocks, with some maficultramafic magmatic
contributions. The ages of the igneous rocks, related
to the closing orogenic events pegmatites, alkaline
rocks., are about 950 Ma. All the eastern lateral
portions of these belts in Brazil western portion of
the Amazonian craton. is marked by anorogenic
rapakivi granites, Sn-bearing, with the same age
range from 1.5 to 0.95 Ga., which seems to characterize impactogenic processes on the foreland domain. A clearer discrimination, both in area and age
records, between the westernmost Mesoproterozoic
belts of the Amazonia
and the older one of Rio

NegroJuruena domain is an objective for further


research.
b. In the central part of Brazil, along the eastern
border of the GoiasTocantins
massif there is a

group of structural features rifts. and rock units


clastics, acid to intermediate volcanics. of continental character, generated during the Statherian Taphrogenesis. Probably, the same cratogenic extensional
tectonic processes occur west of these rifts where
large maficultramafic bodies are known Barro Alto,
Niquelandia, Canabrava. as well as rock units of
oceanic affiliation Juscelandia and correlatives.. All
these structures and assemblages were submitted to
orogenic processes, from low- the first group, in the
east. to high-metamorphic grade the second group,
in the west. during Mesoproterozoic times, around
1.3 Ga, probably following strong events of collisional interaction. These orogenic processes have
been a common source of debate, especially because
of the masking overprint of the Brasiliano structural
and metamorphic features. Actually, this Mesoproterozoic belt further became part of the internal
domain thick skin. of the thrust-and-fold belt of
Brasilia, during Neoproterozoic times. So, the identification of the Mesoproterozoic Uruacuano. diastrophic records is generally full of obstacles and is

94

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

even denied by some geologists. This orogeny is a


fact supported by a large amount of geological and
isotopic data.
c. Drawing a parallel arc with the Uruacuano
belt, hundreds of kilometers to the east, the Statherian linked fault system of Espinhaco and Western
Chapada Diamantina from Piau to Minas Gerais
state was subject to tectonic inversion, with
important crustal shortening, producing a long linear
fold belt by the interaction of ancient rifted basement
blocks. It is characterized by a discontinuous folding
style, whose intensity increases from east to west,
usually low-level regional metamorphism, rare
granitic magmatism and basement reworking, and a
problable age within the Ectasian Period - 1.4 Ga;
) 1.2 Ga.. Between 1.1 and 0.9 Ga an important
event of regional mafic magmatism sills and dikes.
took place in previously deformed rock units, indicating post-tectonic extensional activity of the Mesoproterozoic tectogenesis, partially masked by the
strong overprint of Brasiliano structures mainly in
the southern parts, Minas Gerais State. For both the
Uruacuano and Espinhaco belts, additional data
geological and isotopic are necessary to resolve the remaining problems.
d. In the northeastern part of the platform, in the
basement of a typical Brasiliano Province, Borborema, south of Patos lineament, there are noteworthy records of accretionary orogenic processes, which
have only recently been identified. From the southwestern border of the Parnaba
Basin up to the
Atlantic coast, the lithological and structural evidence for this belt occupy a large WSWESE area
about 800 km long and over 200 km wide. Its
northern segment, the Pianco-Alto
Brgida
beltrter

rane, displays records of bimodal and subordinate


MORB magmatism and the volcano-sedimentary association of a probable forearc basin, of ca. 1.11.05
Ga. Southwards, the segment of the PajeuParaiba

fold beltrterrane is characterized by hundreds of


calc-alkaline sheet-like bodies, stocks, batholiths and
arc-related volcano-sedimentary associations, all of
them indicating subduction and collisional processes
around 1.00.95 Ga. Although still the object of
ongoing investigations Van Schmus et al., 1995.,
these are the best records for an accretionary Mesoproterozoic orogeny Cariris Velhos events in
the continent. The Brasiliano overprint folding,

metamorphism, shearing, granite plutonism, etc.,


younger than 0.9 Ga. is strong. Nevertheless, previous Mesoproterozoic processes could be recognized
and differentiated with the use of SmrNd and UrPb
geochronological methods.
In general, the information rescue and the recognizing degree of Mesoproterozoic structures is always in inverse proportion to the level of reworking
by Brasiliano structures. It also depends on the quality of the available geochronological data. In the
South American Platform basement such work is still
being carried out, but it is time to consider the
importance of the Mesoproterozoic collage and its
structures, developed during two different orogenic
stages. Nowadays, when the collage and fusion of a
Mesoproterozoic supercontinent Rodinia. is often
discussed, we realize that the improving knowledge
of this platform tends to increase its importance.

6. The Neoproterozoic
The early beginning of Neoproterozoic first witnessed the last orogenies of the previous era and the
consequent fusion of continental landmasses prior to
950 Ma.. The subsequent scenery, still in the Tonian
period, all over Western Gondwana, was characterized by diachronous taphrogenic processes gradually
completing the fission of the Mesoproterozoic supercontinent diachronously up to 750 Ma. that installed
a new cycle of global tectonics, the Brasiliano itself.
Two major groups of tectonic components then
started to interact.
a. Neoproterozoic blocks, large, intermediate and
small lithospheric fragments derived from the breakout of the previous supercontinent, which start to
work out as rigid domains, such as plates, microplates, microcontinents, terrranes, etc. Fig. 7..
b. Different evolutionary stages of the Brasiliano
fold belts or the Neoproterozoic basins., positioned
inter and intra these Neoproterozoic blocks. A practical and elementary way to represent and to classify.
such basinsrorogenic belts is based on their preinversion lithostratigraphic records. These tools are
capable of showing original paleogeographic environments and tectonic settings. Some of these primary basins syneclises, rifts, rift systems,
aulacogens, gulfs, oceanic branchs, small oceanic

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

and oceanic basins which display several informal


names as Adamastor, ANEKT, Brasilides,
Goiano, Ribeirao
da Folha, etc.. could only
preserve some of their original characteristics, even
after the many stages that have gradually transformed them into fold belt segments. Naturally, some
other basins or part of basins offer more
difficulties to identify their original characteristics.
6.1. The Neoproterozoic blocks (the probable sons
of Rodinia)
The major fragments of the Upper Mesoproterozoic supercontinent fission have worked out as plates
or subplates., whose remaining continental portions were transformed into the so-called Brasiliano
cratons Amazonian, Sao
Africa, Sao
LusWest

FranciscoCongo, Rio de la Plata, etc.., as tentatively shown in Fig. 7, outlining the end of the
Neoproterozoic collage. All these fragments were
somewhat reworked during the Brasiliano events,
and these phenomena were especially more relevant
for the small blocks, with variable intensity from
shallow to deep crustal levels. Besides the ample
exposition of basement rocks usually defined as cratons, massifs, basement highs, etc., there is in
the infrastructure of the Brasiliano belts other direct
and indirect evidence including isotopic data. of
important portions of the pre-Neoproterozoic basement, which were severely reworked and are now
part of gneissicmigmatitic complexes.
In fact, when these blocks are figured out Fig. 7.
there is a certain amount of implicit subjectivity in
aspects such as number, size and shape. For instance,
along the periphery of the major blocks it was not
possible to represent all the parcels involved and
reworked. as basement of the circumscribing fold
belts, under both thin-skin and thick-skin structural
conditions.
As fractions of the Mesoproterozoic supercontinent fission, these blocks are composed of segments
of the Trans-Amazonian and Upper Mesoproterozoic
collages, especially of the former one. It is necessary
to consider that some blocks were substantially modified and that some others have increased in area by
Neoproterozoic granitogenesis, like GoiasTocantins

whose western border is a Brasiliano magmatic arc.,


PernambucoAlagoas, Rio Piranhas, etc. These new

95

features may give the false impression that they are


generally larger than their previous dimensions, and
once again this brings problems to their correct
graphic representations.
The segments of pre-Neoproterozoic collage occurring in the internides of the Brasiliano fold belts
generally present evidence of regeneration: tectonic,
thermal-metamorphic, compositional, etc. and sometimes all of them together. When these lithological
units became ductile they may be mixed up with
Neoproterozoic gneissicmigmatitic domains. Sometimes, when mostly submitted to brittle tectonics
they may appear as remarkable rigid flakes, slivers,
overthrusted fractions, etc.. local structural features.
The discrimination of the whole pre-Neoproterozoic
lithostratigraphic contexts in the interior of the many
Brasiliano fold belts is an open question. This is
clear as much as these contexts are positioned far
from the cratonic domains, at distal sites.
The behavior of the Neoproterozoic blocks during
the orogenic Brasiliano processes varied to some
extent, as Neoproterozoic plates and microplates
subplates., as microcontinents, as internal structural
highs of fold belts, etc. Besides, they were the
basement for ensialic sedimentary basins, both in
interior and continental margins. It is necessary to
add the role of terranes, for some of these smaller
blocks, in the sense of erratic blocks considerably
displaced from their original positions TroiaTaua,

Guanhaes,
probably Lus
Alves block, etc... Marginal
parts of some major blocks were occupied by Brasiliano continental magmatic arcs -like west of
GoiasTocantins,
south of PernambucoAlagoas,

east and west of Pampia, etc.. and thrust-and-fold


belts Sao
Francisco Peninsula as a whole, southeastern part of Amazonia,
etc... Therefore, the placing of

Neoproterozoic blocks Fig. 4., as descendants of a


supercontinental fission, has natural deficiencies and
uncertainties.
There is evidence that the interaction of some
Neoproterozoic blocks involved consumption of
oceanic realms positioned among them, thus generating accretionary orogenies and subsequently collisional and transpressional orogenic types. When an
oceanic basin was not present, the interactions of the
blocks caused deformation of the continental sedimentary or volcano-sedimentary piles between them
with deep reworking of the basement underlying

96

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

such basins. The available geochronological data


indicate important interactions, general convergence
activities with subduction, first in the Criogenian
period ca. 750 Ma., in the Neoproterozoic III ca.
600 ma., and in some particular cases, from the end
of Neoproterozoic III to the early beginning of the
Cambrian 580540 Ma. From one province to another, such interactions and their orogenic events are
not synchronous.
Centripetal convergence of the Neoproterozoic
blocks may be assumed for the orogenic processes
and tectonic consolidation of most of the provinces,
like Borborema, Tocantins, etc. In all provinces the
arrrangement of blocks, as figured out Fig. 7., after
the Brasiliano orogeny, had a last component of
lateral displacement along linear shear zones lineaments., which seems to be connected with collisional
impactogenesis. and late-collisional escape tectonics. events. These shear zones, present in all Brasiliano provinces, are additionally responsible for
several varied volcano-sedimentary post-tectonic,
pull-apart. basins and intrusions alkaline granites,
granodiorites. diachronously formed from one
province to another, from ca. 590 up to ca. 500 Ma.
These associated events of sedimentation immature
continental clastic. plus varied volcanism and anorogenic plutonism are considered together Alpha sequence. as representative of an important tectonic
transition stage, preceding the general conditions of
tectonic stability of the Ordovician period, during
which the platform started to achieve striking stability and to develop their first real cratonic mature.
cover sequences.
6.2. Origin, classification and arrangement of the
Brasiliano fold belts
The early origin of the Brasiliano fold belts is
related to the formation of sedimentary and
volcano-sedimentary sites led up by the Tonian
Taphrogenesis, which broke up the Mesoproterozoic
supercontinent Rodinia.. Subsequent convergent activities started to take place and led to the subduction
of oceanic realms and the tectonic inversion of the
different systems of original Tonian and younger.
basins, continental rifts systems, interior syneclises,
proto-oceanic basins, etc. The final picture was the
collision and transpressional movements conducted

by the convergence of the Neoproterozoic blocks.


All these combined processes developed a complete
new global cycle Brasiliano., whose consequence
was the agglutination of a newer supercontinental
landmass Western Gondwana., Neoproterozoic to
Cambrian in age, which joined together only some of
the many descendantsrfragments of Rodinia.
To cover some important aspects of the Brasiliano
cycle the classification scheme of Condie 1989. was
choosen, because lithostratigraphic composition and
tectonic mobility are prevailing factors among a
series of variables which allow good inferences about
the earlier tectonic settings of these Neoproterozoic
fold belts Fig. 7.. First, the two remarkable main
kinds of Proterozoic rock associations, QPC s
diamictitequartzitepelitecarbonate association
syneclises, continental margins, miogeosynclines,
etc., of proximal domains of the fold belts. and
volcano-sedimentary association latu sensu lithosphere-activated and mantle-activated rifts, forearc
and backarc basins, of distal domains of the fold
belts. are present in the far interior of most fold
belts. For this second more general case, three different subtypes of rock associations are distinguished
here: BVAC s bimodal volcanic arkose-conglomerate, turbidites; Greenstones large proportions of volcanic with both calc-alkaline and tholeiitic affinities, absence of komatiites; and also special
and local associations with remnants of oceanic floor
and subduction complexes ophiolites and related
deep-sea sediments.. Another subsidiary type of
fold belts included here are those which constitute
magmatic arcs, which are usually situated on
marginal parts of the Neoproterozoic blocks, as previously mentioned.
The present distribution of the Brasiliano fold
belts, post-collage and post-Mesozoic continental
drift, may be described as forming four main structural provinces: Borborema northeast of the
platform., Tocantins central part., Mantiqueira
southeast and south. and Pampean southwest of the
platform., which have already been named and discussed by Almeida et al. 1981.. This is a kind of
preliminary and useful geographicalgeological classification, even with recognized paleogeographic and
tectonic connections among these provinces.
Another possible approach for the arrangements
of these belts is attractive, as that emphasizing the

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

chelogenic character of the belts surrounding the


major Neoproterozoic blocks which have acted as
seed-nuclei., namely: Peri-Amazonian, Peri-West
Africa, Peri-Franciscan, Peri-Rio de la Plata, PeriKalahari, etc. Regarding such classification and distribution, it is necessary to remark that generally the
rock assemblages as above discussed. are arrranged
displaying lateral gradations from the Neoproterozoic blocks themselves to the interior of the fold
belts. This means, from more stable types, miogeoclines and similar proximal environments QPC rock
associations. to more unstable types, distal environments BVAC, Greenstone, Ophiolites., with
the rock associations increasing volcanic components
to the more distal parts. The regional metamorphism
and folding phases also usually displays the same
polarity, with the gradual intensification of both
features towards the distal domains, far from the
Neoproterozoic blocks.
The informal names used to designate fold belts
may lead to problems and deserve comments, because sometimes the influence of a geographical
point of view may be hiding some important geological facts about close relationships and previous continuities among the fold belts. For instance, there are
fold belts positioned among different blocks that
may be up to 5000 km long, with no fundamental
discontinuities to be discussed, like that from the
Rockelides lateral to the West Africa block. up to
Cordoba
in Argentina western part of Rio de La

Plata.. Different names have been used along this


belt Araguaia, Tocantins, Paraguay, Cordoban or
East Pampean, etc.. in order to cover the many
different geographic segments rather than to state
true different geological aspects themselves. Another
example is the case of the fold belt or group of fold
belts. surrounding the S. Francisco peninsula just a
part of the Sao
FranciscoCongoKasaiAngola
Craton. which exihibits a litho-stratigraphical and
structural coherence along thousands of kilometers.
First, with proximal facies of ancient continental
passive margins QPC assemblages. and their lateral
passage to distal and deeper proto-oceanic and
oceanic sites, up to some local ophiolitic remnants.
Second, this peri-continental paleogeographic context was transformed into a more or less continuous
arrangement of centripetally convergent thrust-andfold belts, with thin-skin domains proximal areas.

97

laterally giving way to to thick-skin distal area.


domains. Nevertheless, instead of a general unique
name like peri-Sao
Francisco, for example. many
local geographical names based mostly on physiographic aspects Rio Preto, Braslia,
Rio Grande,

Aracua,
Rio Pardo, Sergipano, etc.. were used to
designate the same long peripheral belt, hiding the
importance of such mutual and global relationships.
The initial tectonic settings for these fold belts
were rather variable, as a function of the nature of
the basement, the extension factor of the Tonian
event., the relative position to the Neoproterozoic
blocks, sedimentary sources and volcanism, etc. The
same is true for inversion tectonic conditions, in
many different interactive conditions, obliquity of
the convergence, intensity and type B or A. of
subduction, aspects of crustal shortening, etc. Some
fold belts show evidence of tectonic inheritance from
the previous Mesoproterozoic and Paleoproterozoic
frameworks, like in the Borborema province from
Cariris Velhos trends., Aracua from Espinhaco and
Trans-Amazonian trends., the northern part of Mantiqueira from Trans-Amazonian trends. and so on.
Conversely, some fold belts seem to have originated
straight from the first structural lines of the Tonian
rifting, without any apparent influence of basement
trends such as those of Araguaia east of Amazonia
.
and Rockelides, the western part of Sergipano belt,
Rio Pardo belt, etc. The natural diversity of fold
belts resulting from the Brasiliano collage is still
challenging a synthesis.
Moreover, different kinds of granitization processes have accompanied all the phases of evolution
of the Brasiliano fold belts up to the completion of
this collage and postdating it Cambrian period..
Examples are the many gneissicmigmatitic complexes and products of migmatization processes that
can be seen in Borborema and Mantiqueira provinces,
which mostly include basement rocks and Neoproterozoic supracrustals and which open a series of
problems for stratigraphic classification. These show
special geodynamic conditions high isothermal gradients. for the Brasiliano, which is in agreement with
widespread isotopic rejuvenating phenomena RbSr
and KAr systems, mainly. for most of the preNeoproterozoic rock associations.
The general structural trends of the South American Platform and its final geographicalgeological

98

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

shape, still as part of the Western Gondwana, were


dominated by the network of shear zones, as already
mentioned, which was followed by a series of other
lithogenetic activities sedimentary, volcanic and plutonic., which lasted until the end of the Cambrian.
Among these shear belts, the position, role and behavior of the Transbrasiliano Lineament Schobbenhaus et al., 1984., which transversely intersects
the entire platform, from NNE to SSW and in so
doing practically divides two distinct arrangements
for Neoproterozoic blocks and fold belts, should be
mentioned. To the west, the large Amazonian block
with its peripheral belts is the dominating feature. To
the east of it, the number of blocks of different
sizes. and types of fold belts is greater, and the array
of the Brasiliano collage is much more complex see
Fig. 7.. There is considerable evidence for the polycyclical movements along this continental shear zone,
from Precambrian to Recent times, and the same is
true for many others lineaments.
The primary displacements promoted along the
shear zones is not known well enough because most
of the studies have offered more qualitative than
quantitative results, mainly of reconnaissance mapping. Some authors estimate hundreds of kilometers
for strikeslip movement for the case of Transbrasiliano and Patos lineament, for instance. have
partially been confirmed by structural, isotopic and
geophysical studies of the adjacent domains. During
all the Phanerozoic Eon, but especially in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras, these shear belts behaved
like polycyclical sites or zones of tectonic movements huge vertical displacements have been confirmed., as preferential sites of the tectonic heritage
as shown by the analysis of all sedimentary basins
see Cordani et al., 1984..

7. The Phanerozoic platform cover


The stages of the litho-structural development of
the cratonic cover of South American Platform vary
considerably and are well recorded Fig. 8.. From
the Cambrian period onwards they comprise countless volcano-sedimentary and sedimentary covers
some of them associated with plutonic suites. stages.
The first of these or the transition stage Almeida,
1967. corresponds to the Alpha sequence, which will

be described below. When tectonic stabilization was


reached, after the Cambrian Period, volcanism was
almost completely absent during the calmer and
longer post-Cambrian stabilization stage. During this
second major stage, since the first half of the Ordovician period, true cratonic sequences the concept of
Sloss, 1988., composed of marine and continental
sediments, started to develop successively until Triassic and Jurassic times.
The best representation for these sequences are
now in the larger Gondwana or Paleozoic syneclises:
Solimoes
600,000 km2 ., Amazonas 400,000 km2 .,
700,000 km2 ., 1,100,000 km2 . and
Parnaba

ChacoParana 600,000 km2 ., this last mostly in


Argentina. The stratigraphy of these basins as well
as the coastal younger ones. have been revised a few
years ago, as follows: Solimoes
Eiras et al., 1994.,
Amazonas Cunha et al., 1994., Parnaba
Goes
and
Feijo,
1994., Acre Feijo and de Souza, 1994., Parana
and ChacoParana Milani et al., 1994.. The range
of thicknesses varies from 3000 to 5000 m from one
depocenter to another. The sedimentary fill of Acre
basin 200,000 km2 ., to the west of the Solimoes

syneclise, includes equivalents of these sequences,


but its evolution presents some similarities to those
of the subandean basins. The sequences are also
present in the bottom of many interior and coastal
MesozoicCenozoic rifts such as ParecisrAlto Xingu
500,000 km2 . Araripe, TucanoJatoba,
Barreirinhas, SergipeAlagoas, etc. Fig. 8..
The cratonic sequences are separated from each
other by interregional unconformities; they go
through five major tectono-sedimentary cycles six,
if the Alpha sequence is also included., agreeing
with Soares et al. 1974, 1978.. These sequences
correspond to successive major events of the platform surface lowering below the regional base level
and its subsequent uplift. Each of these cycles designated by a Greek letter from alpha to zeta. is an
assembly of stratigraphic groups and formations, even
of isolated beds, in some cases, between regional
unconformities. Many problems and obstacles are
common for thickness estimates after previous erosional events. of the former sedimentary column, as
changes of thickness due to compacting, post-depositional geometric modifications, poorly defined
andror insufficient chronological data, etc. Nevertheless, this approach seems to be the most practical

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

99

Fig. 8. General records of the post-Paleozoic activation of the South American Platform, with emphasis on the following: 1. Archean and
Paleoproterozoic domains: 1, 2. Guyana and Guapore shields; 3. Sao
Francisco craton; 4. Rio de la Plata Craton covered.; 2.
Sedimentary coer, including A. Subandean basins; B. Solimoes
basin; C. Amazonas basin; D. Parnaba
basin; E. Parana basin; F.
Chaco-Parana basin; G. Parecis basin; H. Alto Xingu basin; 3. Andean belt; 4. Exposed Upper JurassicLower Jurassic olcanic rocks;
5. Main dike swarms; 6. Triassic alkaline rocks; 7. Upper Cretaceous alkaline rocks; 8. Lower Cretaceous alkaline granites (and aried
olcanism); 9. Tertiary alkaline rocks; 10. Southernmost boundary of the platform.

way to synthesize all the cover stages of the platform


and its Phanerozoic tectonic history.

The paraplatformal Alpha sequence actually represents deposits late to post-tectonic. and associated

100

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

magmatism of the then recently agglutinated Gondwana continent, rather than a real cratonic sequence.
After this stage of transition in the general gradual
and diachronous tectonic conditions, from mobile
belts to stable cratonic domains, the Paleozoic Gondwana basins from the Ordovician up to Jurassic
times received the deposition of four true cratonic
sequences Beta, Gamma, Delta and Delta-A., of
marine and continental environments, with their natural particuliarities from one basin to another. During these times, the closest plate border was the
Pacific margin Zalan,
1991., and its complex history of accretion and microcollision caused many
base-level changes and influenced these sedimentary
cratonic covers and their unconformities.
In post-Paleozoic times the interior of the platform started to be intensively activated due to tectonic processes of formation of the present active
and passive margins of the South American continent. This complex actiation stage and its corresponding sedimentary and volcano-sedimentary
recording Epsilon sequence. show important differences and variations, both in physical space and in
time, i.e., from the Upper Paleozoic first recordings
in the northern part of the platform. to Upper Cretaceous. In the Guyana shield, at the northern part of
the platform, Triassic rifts and mafic dike swarms
are synchronous to the opening of the North Atlantic.
In the southern part of the platform, important traps
of basaltic magmatism Serra Geral Group and relatives., over 1,000,000 km2 , were mostly formed in
early Cretaceous times. Along the coastal Atlantic
area this stage of evolution presents first a series of
rifts with associated mafic magmatism, followed by
proto-oceanic domains, gulfs and the alike, near the
middle part of Cretaceous. Actually, Epsilon sequence does not strictly follow the general requirements for a cratonic sequence. However, this is a
practical and useful way to group a series of interrelated episodes and their lithogenetic products, at least
due to expositive reasons.
The last cover sequence Zeta. mainly assembles
the sedimentary phases connected with the individualization of the South American Platform, i.e. those
having the Atlantic shoreline as the regional base
level. It is indigenous and it was formed pari passu
with the last geomorphological evolution of this
platform. It is also representative of younger stages

of sedimentation and slight magmatism. when tectonic quietness started to be restored a gradual and
diachronous restabilization., from the Upper Cretaceous to the Present, replacing the previous dramatic
events of the actiation stage.
7.1. Transition stage Alpha sequence
This sequence includes sedimentary mostly immature continental clastic., volcano-sedimentary
acid to intermediate rocks and some mafic magmatism are common. with plutonic anorogenic. rocks,
from the Neoproterozoic III up to the end of the
Cambrian, diachronous from one basin to another, following the different steps and times of
consolidation of the four main structural Brasiliano
provinces. It is naturally complex and diversified
from place to place, and generally fills rifts and
pull-apart basins of modest sizes, which often crop
out on the periphery of the syneclises. A basal
unconformity to Neoproterozoic lithostructural rock
units is common and some of them reveal constraints
of a previous larger size, preceding the Phanerozoic
erosional phases. A generally well-marked upper
unconformity is defined with the Ordovician andror
Silurian sediments Beta or Gamma sequence, the
latter being the most common case..
In the northern part of the platform, representative
rock units for this sequence have not yet been recognized. Alkaline ultramafic bodies occur along the
axis precursor rift system. of the Amazonas
syneclise, Cambrian in age ca. 500 Ma., attributed
to late-Brasiliano impactogenesis led by the Araguaia
belt Peri-Amazonian..
The best representations of cratonic cover rocks
are found in the molassic foredeeps Alto Paraguai,
.
Lagarto-Tobias Barreto, Itaja,
CamaquarGuaritas

and some minor intradeeps Jua,


part of Camarinha.
of the Brasiliano provinces. Similar deposits are also
present in post-collisional extrusion pull-apart.
basins, always associated to extensional phases of
the major shear belts Jaibaras, Cococi, Piranhas,
Camarinha, etc. basins and subbasins., whose
previous larger size may be inferred from their locally preserved remnants. Volcano-sedimentary sequences filling these basins are hundreds to thousands meters thick, mostly with immature clastic
deposits plus volcanic rocks. and discontinuous

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

folding style. The brittle structures dominate. Granitic


plutonism is rare, except in the case of the Joinville
Massif the northern part of the Lus
Alves block.,
where an important suite of alkaline to peralkaline
granites make the main elevations of the Serra do
Mar Almeida and Carneiro, 1998., from Sao
Paulo
to Santa Catarina states, in close association with
many occurrences of these basins.
These types of basins are related to the presence of shear belts basin-forming tectonics. and
they were protected against younger erosion episodes
due to the close presence of a Lower Paleozoic cover
mostly belonging to the Gamma sequence. The number and size of the Eo-Paleozoic occurrences
decreases sharply where these conditions are not
found.
Moreover, there is preliminary evidence of larger
and thicker areas of the occurrence of such basinal
rocks beneath the Parnaba
and Parana syneclises,
occupying the precursor triggering grabens for development of these Paleozoic basins. Cambrian deposits
of this type have been found by deep wells along
their main depositional axes.
7.2. The Stability stage
The relative tectonic quietness from Ordovician
up to Upper Jurassic at some places, these tectonic
conditions stopped in Triassic times, and even before
them. was defined as the stability stage Almeida,
1966, 1967.. It was developed under orthoplatformal
conditions, when continuous and mature cover sequences of marine mostly, but not exclusively,
Lower Paleozoic. and continental provenances could
widely be formed, even beyond the present erosional
boundaries of the major syneclises and rifts.
Unconformities of an interregional character are
used to limit successive cratonic cover sequences:
the Beta OrdovicianSilurian., Gamma DevonianLower Carboniferous., Delta Upper CarboniferousTriassic. and Delta-A TriassicJurassic. are
composed of mature sediments. Magmatism was
practically absent during this long stage over 350
Ma in some basins., though its end is diachronous
and generally marked by Mesozoic basaltic magmatism, locally starting to appear at the end of the
Permian period Amazonas Basin..

101

7.2.1. The Beta sequence


The Beta sequence is formed by continental sediments presenting transitions to fossiliferous marine
deposits, thus characterizing the first important marine trangression on to the recently consolidated
platform, from west to east Solimoes-Amazonas,

Parana basin. and from south to north Parnaba

basin.. Its lower limit is very well marked by the


post-Cambrianrpre-Ordovician unconformity and its
upper surface limit is represented by the Eo-Devonian unconformity.
In the Solimoes
basin, the Benjamin Constant
Formation is the oldest marine sedimentary recording for this sequence and of all Brazilian basins
sandstones and black shales, at subsurface.. All
syneclises and many interior some coastal. rifts
present a fair representation for this sequence, with
continental and subsequent predominant marine sediments. Among the former can be mentioned some
minor occurrences of shallow marine and glacial
deposits in Amazonas, Parnaba
and Parana Assine
et al., 1994. syneclises. The sediments of this sequence often crop out in the periphery of the basins,
but most of them occur under subsurface conditions
as in the Parana basin Assine et al., 1998a,b..

7.2.2. The Gamma sequence


This sequence is present in all Brazilian syneclises
as well as in the main paleozoic rift systems. It
corresponds to a complete transgressiveregressive
marine cycle, from the Early Devonian to the end of
the Lower Carboniferous, limited at the top and the
bottom by two important interregional unconformities.
In the Solimoes
basin there are recordings of
marine and glacio-marine sediments. In the Amazonas basin the recording of a complete sedimentary
cycle begins and ends with deltaic-fluvial sediments,
successively passing throughout neritic, euxinic,
glacio-marine and neritic facies. In the Parnaba

syneclise and in the TucanoJatoba rift system,


recordings are also complete and similar to that of
Amazonas, but with remarkable erosional unconformity and stratigraphical vacuity at its top. In the
Parana syneclise the recordings for the first phases of
the transgressive cycle Parana Group., from conglomerates and clear sandstones to black shales, are

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F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

very well documented, but a strong erosion event


removed the sediments of the regressive phase. The
same rock units of Parana are found in the bottom of
the rift systems of the Parecis basin.
This is the most general stage of the Lower
Paleozoic covering in the South American Platform,
under stable tectonic conditions and strong marine
influence. The huge erosional unconformity of its top
is a platform milestone that was attributed to the
influences of the orogenic Hercynian events on the
western margin of the continent the Andean Chain..

7.2.3. The Delta sequence and the Delta-A subsequence


The last Paleozoic tectonic-sedimentary cycle has
a complex evolution, limited by an Upper Permianr
Eo-Triassic unconformity. A climatic and paleogeographic differentiation can be observed in the sedimentary recordings of this sequence, from the northern semi-arid conditions, fluvial and marine sediments. to the southern glacial, glacio-marine. basins.
The Solimoes
and Amazonas syneclises display
continental sediments with marine intercalations, with
typical and important evaporitic deposits. In the
Parnaba
basin, this sequence is characterized by low
subsidence rates, shallow marine to continental sediments and progressive evidence for desertic environments from their basal beds to the top.
Permo-Carboniferous glacial deposits are widely
distributed in Gondwana Eyles, 1993; Smith, 1997..
In the Parana syneclise the delta sequence is characterized by thick glacial deposits with marine intercalations five different horizons.. Semi-arid to arid
conditions are recorded only near the top of the
sequence. The final phase of the tectono-sedimentary
cycle is composed of terrigenous sediments, from
litoral and shallow marine zones whose upper limit
reached the Triassic ages. Similar rock assemblages
are present in the Parecis basin, and there are also
some remnants of this sequence preserved in other
interior TucanoJatoba . and even in some coastal
rifts SergipeAlagoas..
The subsequence Delta-A was proposed Soares
et al., 1974, 1978. to assemble the sediments of
desertic environments prevailing at the top of the
previous sequence, characterizing wide continental
conditions geocracy of Pangea., from the Early

Triassic period. Sometimes this subsequence is separated from the lower main sequence Delta. by local
unconformities. This subsequence represents one of
the largest deserts in the history of the Earth which
covered areas of the post-Hercynian supercontinent.
This post-Triassic part Delta A. of the same general
development since the end of Lower Carboniferous.
of the cycle has been separated as a subsequence, but
this is not a generally accepted concept. The end of
this subsequence is diachronous and it is related with
the early breakout of the supercontinent from the
Permian to Lower Cretaceous., marked by rifting
processes and basaltic magmatism. This new series
of tectonic-sedimentary realms then developed were
best defined as part of the Epsilon sequence.
7.3. The post-Paleozoic actiation Epsilon and
Zeta sequences
As previously emphasized, the South American
Platform became individualized as the western part
of Pangea West Gondwana. in the Cretaceous, and
since then it has been separated from the African
Platform. The initial taphrogenic rift systems, gulfs.
processes preceding such a drift were generally initiated in the Triassic period, even a little earlier, it had
its culminating in the Lower Cretaceous ca. 120130
Ma., with diachronic continental manifestations
tectonic and lithogenetic processes. all over the
continent. These phenomena were first described as
Wealdean reactivation Almeida, 1967. and later
on as Mesozoic activation Almeida, 1972.. Most
of the papers on such a complex subject considered
it as reflecting the continental drift, but it is necessary also to add and to remember the influence of the
coeval processes of orogenetic interactions subduction, microcollision, faults. on the Andean and
Caribbean margins of the plate.
A review of these processes will follow the different geographicalgeological areas different structural provinces., from north to south, which have
different behavior in terms of the most important
features.
7.3.1. The Guyana shield
This was the first region of the platform where the
processes of activation took place, especially that of
basic magmatism. Eo-Triassic up to Eo-Jurassic

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

ca. 225; ca. 180 Ma. dike swarms, NNWSSE


trending are common Cassipore diabases. from
Amapa up to the French Guyana territory, and from
there to the continental boundary. Dikes of the same
nature and age are also common in the states of
Roraima, Para and Amazonas Brazil. as well as in
Suriname and Guyana. Such processes of magmatism and rifting are considered to be related to the
opening of the North Atlantic, which was effective
all over the Guyana Shield.
The Takutu rift attributed to the same tectonic
cause. is a NESW trending semi-graben about 3000
km long, 3050 km wide, which developed from
Roraima Brazil. to Guyana along older reactivated.
Proterozoic structures of the Guyana Central Precambrian shear zone Costa et al., 1991.. The general structure seems to be controlled by normal faults
reactivated along the main trend of the shear zone
and by some NWSE trending transcurrent faults.
The preserved volcano-sedimentary pile exhibits
about 1500 m of basaltic flows, which dated from
180 up to 150 Ma the Apoteri Formation
covered by 5500 m of clastic sediments minor
clasticevaporitic., mainly siltstone red-beds and
deltaic sandstones of the Late Jurassic to Lower
Cretaceous ages. Mesozoic alkaline plutonism is also
present, as the examples of Catrimani syenite of
Roraima Fig. 8., with age ca. 100 Ma and the
alkaline ultramafic and carbonatitic province of Seis
Lagos, in Amazonas state Rio Negro valley., which
was tentatively attributed to the Upper TriassicrEoCretaceous ages. A very thick Nb-bearing duricrust
characterizes the Seis Lagos region, from which
samples of the fresh bedrock have not yet been
obtained.

7.3.2. The Amazonas basin


The Amazonas syneclise itself is usually divided
into three major subbasins, as follows: Solimoes

Alto Amazonas., Medio


Amazonas and Baixo Amazonas. All of them received continental sediments
Alter do Chao
Formation. from the Albian stage to
the Upper Cretaceous Turonian stage. and several
Cenozoic covers. The same is true for the western
Acre basin, at the boundary of the platform westward of Amazonas., under the Andean zone of influence.

103

Countless diabase sills and dikes intruded into the


Paleozoic lithostratigraphic pile, with a known maximum thickness of 809 m observed in the Solimoes

subbasin. Aires 1983. estimated about 340,000 km3


for the whole volume of intrusive magmatic material,
pointing out that the total thickness of the sills is
larger under two main general conditions: where the
basement of the basin is deeper and where the total
thickness of post-diabase beds is larger. Moreover,
these large thicknesses of basaltic magmatism are
generally situated where the major Precambrian shear
zones cross cut each other. The oldest known sills
are from the beginning of the Triassic period ca.
250 Ma.; therefore, coeval to the above-mentioned
Cassipore diabase. A younger episode of sill and
dike intrusion is known from the end of Jurassic to
the Neocomian stage.
The influence of the Andean orogenesis on this
region has been less investigated and is little known,
partially due to of the considerable extent and thickness of the younger cover sequences Zeta.. Influences and tectonic responses for these Andean
orogenesis are recognized in the Solimoes
Basin,
situated between the structural arches of Purus east.
and Iquitos this latter separating Solimoes
from
Acre-Pastaza, a sub-Andean basin. and having as a
Precambrian basement rocks of the Rio Negro
Juruena belt. Detected faults and folding systems of
Late-Jurassic and Eo-Cretaceous ages have affected
real Paleozoic cratonic sequences, and the sources
for such stress fields have their origin in the subduction processes of the Nazca plate. There is a very
important fault zone, the megasuture of Solimoes

Caputo and Silva, 1991., about 1000 km long,


developed by a system of faults N7080E trending,
which is a good example of intraplate tectonics
derived from the active margin.

7.3.3. The Guapore shield (south of AmazonasSolimoes


basin)
Once again, the most conspicuous events of the
post-Paleozoic activation for this southern part of the
Amazonas basin are recorded by the occurrences of
diabase sills and dikes, also piercing rocks of the
basement and many others of Proterozoic and
Phanerozoic evolution. Basaltic flows are present in
both Mato Grosso and Rondonia
states, with Jurassic

104

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

and Cretaceous ages. The well-known basaltic flows


of the southwestern part of this shield, Tapirapua and
Anari, are the northernmost occurrences of magmatic
rocks affiliated with those of the Parana Basin
Epsilon sequence.. They are covered by Cretaceous
sandstones of the Parecis Formation Zeta sequence.,
which is correlated to the Bauru Group, to the south,
in the Parana Basin. Some kimberlite intrusions,
Cretaceous in age, are present in this western part of
the shield, in the states of Mato Grosso and Rondonia.

7.3.4. The northeast region


During Late-Jurassic and Eo-Cretaeous two main
graben systems, SWNE trending, were formed in
this region, divided by basement tectonic highs Lima
Filho et al., 1996, among others.. The Afro-Brazilian
depression Central Atlantic, with CaborPernambuco, SergipeAlagoas, ReconcavoTucano
Jatoba basins and BahiaEspirito Santo basins. and
AraripePotiguar from west Pernambuco to the Rio
Grande do Norte coastal area, Equatorial Atlantic.,
whose sedimentary remnants are trapped and preserved in the bottom of the deeper grabens, receiving
many informal names of basins and subbasins. They
present recordings for pre-rift Paleozoic sequences.,
rift and gulf stages Epsilon sequence. before the
marine sediments of Atlantic provenances Zeta sequence., from different Upper Cretaceous stages
post-Albian..
In the interior of the Parnaba
syneclise, there are
widespread continental sediments associated to rifting and basaltic magmatism Alpercatas amphiclise, after Goes
and Coimbra, 1996.. Over 150 m
of fluvial-lacustrine deposits Corda and Pastos Bons
Formation. were deposited at that time. Triassic and
Jurassic basaltic flows and diabase intrusions occur
on the western part of the basin Mosquito magmatism., while younger Eo-Cretaceous sills, dikes
and minor basaltic flow are present in the eastern
part Sardinha magmatism., associated with some
clastic sedimentary rock units. The first Mesozoic
occurrence of marine-related or marine sedimentation is recorded in this area, as well as in the
previously mentioned rift system about the middle
part of Cretaceous after the AlbianAptian stages..
The Brasiliano Borborema Province, part of the
shield to the east of the Parnaba
syneclise, presents
many occurrences of basaltic magmatism, mainly

intrusions of tholeiitic nature. The relationship between the basaltic magmatism of the Borborema
Province and their ancient tectonic features activated
in the Mesozoic time. is not always clear. Occurrence of tholeiitic basalt magmatism generally coincides with fault lines that formed the sedimentary
basins, a reality both for the interior and for the
continental margin areas.
There are several hypotheses for these occurrences of magmatism as that based on the clockwise
movement of the South American plate Francolin
and Szatmari, 1987., following a rotation pole about
398W Gr., 78S. which caused NS extension stresses
in this part of the plate and EW compression at the
same time Neocomian. in the African counterpart
the area around Cameroon.. The so-generated or
similar. stress fields have thus reactivated many
Precambrian fault lines of the Borborema Province,
according to the different stages of the continental
drift. They initiated a series of Mesozoic grabens and
favored intrusion of diabase dikes around 120130
Ma, especially from central and south Ceara to Rio
Grande do Norte State, which present general EW
trends, parallel to the southern border of Potiguar
Basin Ceara MirimrCabugi magmatism and related
events..
In the coastal area, south of Recife CaborPernambuco basin. it is necessary to mention the Ipojuca volcanism of probable Albian age, which comprises rhyolites, trachytes, basalts, different types of
tuffs, etc. of the same span of time as the alkaline
granite of Cabo Santo Agostinho ca. 100 Ma., the
unique Phanerozoic anorogenic granites of the platform. In the domains of the Potiguar basin, there are
some local occurrences of alkaline basalts of
Oligocene to Miocene ages between 45 and 29 Ma.,
cutting across most of the sedimentary pile and
previous Mesozoic basaltic occurrences. During the
Oligocene some alkaline necks were positioned in
the surroundings of Fortaleza, in Ceara State.
7.3.5. The Sao
Francisco Craton and its eastern
Aracua Fold Belt
The Sao
Francisco Craton behaved as a very
stable area during the events of the post-Paleozoic
activation. Rifting and sedimentation processes are
present in its western part Eo-Cretaceous, connected
with the Parnaba
Basin. and along the Atlantic

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

Coastal Area. In spite of the importance of vertical


tectonics, the occurrences of mafic magmatism are
surprisingly scarce and local.
In the area of the Serra do Espinhaco Proterozoic
cover sequence of the craton, partially reworked by
the Brasiliano Aracua Fold Belt., at Minas Gerais,
diabase dikes have isotopic ages from 220 up to 170
Ma Dossin et al., 1995.. Towards the coastal area
there is a linear Precambrian shear belt found in
high grade rocks of the distal segment of the fold
belt., NNWSSE trending, about 200 km long, from
Vitoria Espirito Santo. to the northnorthwest,
which was reactivated and it was penetrated by
diabase dikes ca. 170 Ma.
7.3.6. The Parana and ChacoParana Basins and
surrounding areas
Continental sediments with low subsidence rates
characterize the evolution of the Parana Basin in
Brazil Piramboia
and Rosario
do Sul formations,
Delta-A sequence. and homologous basins in
Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina ChacoParana
Basin.. From Late Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous,
these basins accumulated widespread, but not very
thick, aeolian deposits Botucatu Formation in Brazil
and their stratigraphic correlatives in the surrounding
countries..
The Botucatu Formation is outstanding in the
Parana Basin Almeida, 1953. for the large distribution and relatively uniform thickness. Dune fields are
recognized in the sandstone beds. They were affected
from the Neocomian onwards by the widespread
basic magmatism of Serra Geral Formation. Taking
into account the South American and African basins
together, this area of desert sedimentation Delta-A
subsequence. was over 2,000,000 km2 , and it may be
classified as the Dala table land. basin type
Botucatu Dala. which was immediately succeeded
by the mafic magmatism and related unstable events
of the Epsilon sequence.
In the Parana Basin domal structures and linear
arches are common, parallel or not to the limits of
the basin. Many were formed during the activation
stage. Some, like the NS Asuncion
Arch, on the
west of the main basin, presented a general trend for
upward movements from Devonian times. The Ponta
Grossa Arch has been pointed out as a wide domal
structure prevailing before the continental drift; its

105

present features Zalan


et al., 1991. were developed
after the Triassic period. Many other structural positive areas with upward movements appeared with the
activation processes: The Paranaba
Arch, Rio Grande
Arch, Bom Jardim Arch, the Serra do Mar features,
and others. These areas of positive tectonic movements are responsible for the main outline of the
basin after the Jurassic and Cretaceous times; they
had an important role on the emplacement of the
alkaline intrusions.
The first important magmatic episodes were
marked by emplacement of alkaline rocks of Eastern
Paraguay during the Eo-Jurassic or even Late Triassic times. Diabase dikes of Late Jurassic gave way to
the basaltic flows of the Serra Geral during the Early
Cretaceous. The whole area occupied by the basaltic
magmatism is over 1,200,000 km2 ; with local
isolithic lines including sills. that may reach up to
1700 m. The estimated total volume of magmatic
material is about 1,000,000 km3. This is, by far, one
of the most important occurrences of flood basalts of
the world, both in terms of size and of volume. The
first flows of basaltic material are intertrapped with
eolian sediments of the Botucatu Formation, at different stratigraphic levels. Similar lava flows are also
present in Uruguay Arequita Formation., Paraguay
and ChacoParana,
in Argentina Russo et al., 1980..
The magmatic processes were relatively very fast,
most of them probably lasting around 10 millions of
years, between 138 and 127 Ma after Turner et al.,
1994.. It is still possible that these processes were
still faster, according to Renne et al. 1992., only 3
or 2 million years based on ArrAr data.. Most of
the basaltic flows present tholeiitic characteristics,
without olivines. Only in the southern states of Brazil
are there occurrences of tholeiitic andesites, rhyolites
and rhyodacites Melfi et al., 1988.. In the southern
part of Brazil as well as in Etendeka Namibia,
Africa., the volcanic rocks are intercalated with approximately a half hundred meters of rhyolitic lava
flows. The basalt-rhyolitic suite of the Palma type, at
the Parana State, southern Brazil Piccirillo et al.,
1988b. and the equivalent low-TiO 2 suite in Etendeka
Erlank et al., 1984. are in correspondence both in
age and composition. After an isotopic study Piccirillo et al. 1988a. have concluded that the origin of
the volcanism in the Parana Basin is related to a
distinct mantelic source, of lithospheric type, and not

106

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

to any mantelic isotopically homogeneous material,


of asthenospheric type e.g., mantle plume.. Turner
et al. 1996. also inferred that more than one source
in the lithospheric mantle has formed the volcanism.
The Tristan da Cunha plume according to these
authors was greatly passive in the process, contributing with the heat that made easier the remobilization
of the ancient lithospheric material. The association
of the basalts to acid lavas seems to support their
conclusions.
Diabase dikes are known in the Parana basin and
all the surrounding crystalline areas of its basement
see Almeida et al., 1996.. The mafic dikes of the
Serra do Mar, between Sao
Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
Fig. 8. are associated to lamprophyres and other
alkaline rocks, following NESW structural trends
inherited from the basement Mantiqueira Province..
Another remarkable group of mafic dike swarms are
those parallel to the main axis of the Ponta Grossa
arch, with a general NWSE trend, that present
Lower Cretaceous ages, from the litoral area up to
the interior of the Parana basin itself where they
occur cutting across previous basaltic flows Ussami
et al., 1991..
The alkaline magmatism is rather variable in terms
of rock types, saturated and unsaturated rocks, leuco
and melanocratic rocks; it includes some ultrabasic
rocks, carbonatites and kimberlites. The favorite sites
are found in a sedimentary basin interior, not far
from their external boundaries, mainly in upward
trending zones and reactivated fault lines. The arrangement of the intrusive bodies used to vary, some
of them have remarkable linear features, like that
from Jaboticabal interior of the Parana Basin. to
Cabo Frio Rio de Janeiro coastal area. and possibly
up to the Saldanha da Gama bank on the continental
shelf., performing a curved zone of about 1500 km
long about 60 km wide., where 26 varied alkaline
intrusions are positioned, also including some occurrences of volcanic flows in the interior of the Guanabara, Volta Redonda and Rezende grabens Rio de
Janeiro state.. Almeida 1991. proposed that such
alkaline bodies Fig. 8. formed a small circle related
to the rotation of the South American plate during
the opening of the South Atlantic from the Campanian to the Eocene stage from 87 up to 42 Ma..
The Parana basin presented low rates of subsidence after the episodes of basaltic magmatism,

probably related to thermal effects. During the Late


Cretaceous SantonianMaastrichtian., a new and
autonomous basin was born. It is an interior syneclise
filled up by the Bauru Group, about 300 m of
continental sediments Zeta sequence., with some
basal volcanic intercalations, whose depocenters coincide with the area of maximum thickness of the
underlying Serra Geral basalts. To the north, some
marginal elevations separate this basin from its coeval and probably homologous. Alto San Franciscan
basin, which also belongs to an Upper Cretaceous
age.
7.3.7. The Southsoutheast region of Brazil
This is a region where the activation phenomena
were much more intensive, including special phases
of vertical movements up to now which form unusual landscapes. The region placed on the continental shelf to the slope facing the Santos and Campos
basins has as structures of the Ribeira Fold Belt
central part of Mantiqueira Province. as basement.
The Santos Basin is among the largest and deepest
sedimentary basins of the South Atlantic continental
margin. Its depocenters locally reach depths of 13
km. By its turn, the adjacent uplifted continental
area, between Santa Catarina and Rio de Janeiro
states, is a striking plateau with a huge line of
escarpments facing the sea usually called Serra do
Mar., whose normal elevations are between 1500
and 800 m, the highest peaks reaching 2200 m.
Along the Serra do Mar there are some normal
fault zones, parallel to the previous structures of the
Brasiliano fold belt, a series of half-grabens, tilted to
the NNW, and filled up by Cenozoic continental
sediments. This group of sedimentary basins is present from the Parana Curitiba basin. up to Rio de
Janeiro states, with preserved sedimentary piles of
hundreds of meters, associated to some alkaline magmatism. The generative taphrogenetic process began
in the Paleogene period, when the plateau reached a
general altitude around 1200 m heights below those
at present., informally known as Japi Surface, of
Upper Cretaceous to Lower Eo-Tertiary ages. Such a
plateau was formed by the erosion and levelling of
preexisting large region with many basaltic and alkaline rocks.
The origin and evolution of the Serra do Mar, its
rift systems and magmatism and the Santos and

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

Campos basins still present a series of questions to


be unraveled Almeida and Carneiro, 1998.. The first
magmatic events are those of diabase dikes NE
trending. of Late Jurassic ages. During the Neocomian there were the Serra Geral flow basalts processes, whose extent to South Africa. has been
discussed. Stratigraphic data from the Santos Basin
Chang et al., 1992. and other inferences allows to
suppose the start of rising processes of the Serra do
Mar at about 90 Ma Turonian stage.. Based on the
fission method in apatites, Vignol-Lelarge et al.
1994., confirmed this age value, because they got
an age of 86 Ma for the upward movement of the
area of the Ponta Grossa Arch. They also consider
the possibility of a general denudation event 2.5 km
thick. during the Coniacian and Santonian stages
immediately post-Turonian.. This range of ages coincides with events of volcanic alkaline activity in
this southsoutheast region.
The first extensional processes recorded for this
region Eo-Cretaceous. are marked by the beginning
of the rift phase of Santos Basin, when many old
fault lines placed in the Ribeira fold belt have gained
listric characteristics. With the progress of the
stretching stress fields, the Santos Basin started to be
formed and filled up at the beginning. by sediments
related to those of Botucatu Formation as well as
with basaltic flows. After that, the Serra do Mar
started its ascending movements ca. 90 Ma.. The
erosional processes of the ascending source area and
the weight of the volcanic-sedimentary pile in the
basin have probably composed a self-sustained stress
field that gradually increased both the elevation of
the coastal area and the subsidence of the basin at
the seashore. The eastwards block movements led by
listric faults were responsible for the formation of
the half-graben basins in the continental area, according to the orientation of maximum stretching, as well
as by the usual dip sense of the Tertiary beds there
present Melo et al., 1985..
7.3.8. Southeast of Uruguay
During Jurassic times, in the southeast of Uruguay
southeast of Rio de La Plata block. tectonic troughs
were developed and filled up first with Eo-Cretaceous marine and later by continental sediments the
rest of Cretaceous., reaching total thicknesses near
2000 m Bossi, 1996.. The main area, the Santa

107

Lucia trough, exihibits SENW general trends. In


this case, basaltic flows, equivalent to those of Serra
Geral, cover the Precambrian basement, preceding
the first taphrogenic movements that formed such the
basin.
7.3.9. Salado Basin
The Salado Basin, in the Buenos Aires province
in Argentina, is close to the southern limit of the
South American Platform. It is positioned between
elevated blocks of the Martin Garcia island of Parana
river to the NNE. and the Sierras Buenaerensis at
SSW., completely hidden by Cenozoic sediments.
The Rio Salado trough was formed after the flow
basaltic processes of Lower Cretaceous age and was
first filled up by continental sediments. Since the end
of the Cretaceous period, and during Cenozoic times
total thickness of more than 6000 m of alternating
continental and marine sediments developed. This
typical sedimentary basin of the Activation stage is
now integrated to the general environment of the
Pampean plains.
8. Concluding remarks
The basement of the South American Platform
was generated by three complex Proterozoic collages, all succeeded by processes of taphrogenesis
and dispersion. The first collage took place during
the Paleoproterozoic Trans-Amazonian., and agglutinated several Archean microcontinental nuclei of
Neo-Archean age.. Long accrettionary and collisional mobile belts developed in this period which
culminated with the formation of a large continental
landmass, around 1.8 Ga. This collage was followed
by many intracratonic breaking and magmatic
episodes Statherian Taphrogenesis..
During the mid and late Mesoproterozoic, a second collage event consolidated sparsely distributed
mobile belts according to different climaxes of activities, from 1.4 up to 0.95 Ga, which involved many
of the lithogenetic products generated by all previous
taphrogenetic processes. By the end of this collage, a
large continental landmass, of global character, had
thus been performed Rodinia.. The Eo-Neoproterozoic fission of this large landmass generated, at the
same time, different Neoproterozoic crustal blocks
and paleogeographic sites continental and oceanic

108

F.F.M. de Almeida et al.r Earth-Science Reiews 50 (2000) 77111

basins., whose arrangement defined the elements of


interaction for the evolution of the Brasiliano Cycle.
The collage of the Gondwana supercontinent occurred due to interactions of such blocks and basin
closures along at least three main phases: ca. 750, ca.
600 and 550 Ma. Such collage promoted the formation of the Gondwana supercontinent, with the basement of the South America platform located in its
western side. The established structural framework
controlled the most important pre-drift features of
the whole continent.
Important records of a tectonic heritage from the
Brasiliano collage trends can be identified within all
the generation stages of the platform cover.
The Phanerozoic evolution of the platform was
developed during six tectono-sedimentary phases.
The older one, from Neoproterozoic III up to EoOrdovician, includes many taphrogenetic basins as
an epilogue to the Brasiliano Cycle, filled up by a
varied immature sediments and volcanics and cut by
some anorogenic granites. This is the transition stage
to the following Paleozoic phases of stability.
Large intracratonic syneclises and main sedimentary basins were developed in the wide platform
from Ordovician Silurian mostly. to Permian periods. There are widespread records of many sea
ingressions forming typical successions alternated
with deposits of fluvial, deltaic and glacial origins.
Three major cratonic sequences were then developed. The Triassic period is marked by the beginning
of a geocratic stage represented by continental sediments and culminating with desert conditions in
Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous. Probably
younger than this Upper Permian., but reaching the
same time span, an important record of basaltic
magmatism is found in the northern part of the
platform. This is part of the group of tectonic phenomena that indicates a new evolutionary stage
the actiation of the platform, which culminated
with the Atlantic opening during the Aptian-Albian.
The actiation stage Upper Jurassic onwards.
has formed in the whole platform faults, basic
and subsaturated alkaline magmatic intrusions as well
as extensive flood basalts. Thousands of Mesozoic
diabase dikes are known. The basaltic and associated
magmatic activities were accompanied and succeeded in many provinces by a diversified alkaline
magmatism until Miocene. The Atlantic continental-

margin taphrogenetic basins exihibit records in


their volcano-sedimentary piles of all these tectonic and magmatic phases. The last stage of platform evolution restabilization., post-continental drift
is characterized by the evolution of the present physiography and its connected sedimentary features, both
of the continental interior and of the continental
shelf.
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Fernando Flavio
Marques de Almeida
has been a Full-Professor at the Mining
Department of the Polytechnics School
of the University of Sao
Paulo. Although he graduated as a Civil Engineer
1938. at the University of Sao
Paulo he
did his doctorate in Geology and dedicated his career specifically to the Geology and Geotectonics of Brazil. He began his professional career on mineral
prospection at the Geology and Mineralogy Division of DNPM National Department of Mineral Production., after which he took up teaching
at the Escola Politecnica,
until he retired in 1974. Between 1974

and 1978 he teached Geotectonics in the Geosciences Institute of


the same university, when he moved to a research position in the
Technological Research Institute of the Sao
Paulo State IPT.,
where he remained till 1995. From 1985 and 1990 Prof. Fernando
also taught at the Geosciences Institute of the State University of
Campinas Unicamp.. His scientific production includes more
than two hundred papers, books and reports on Brazilian Geology.
He has received awards as: the Jose Bonifacio
Gold Medal

1964., from the Brazilian Geological Society SBG.; Patriarca


Medal from Santos Municipality 1963.; Emeritus Professor of
the Escola Politecnica
USP 1976.; Merit Medal from the Engi
neering and Architecture Federal Council 1995.; Almirante

Alaro
Alberto Prize from the Science and Technology Ministry
of the Brazilian Government 1986.; Honoris Causa Doctor from
the State University of Campinas 1991.; Caaleiro da Gra-Cruz

Medal of the Nacional Scientific Order of Merit 1995.. He was


elected Vice-President of the Societe
de France 1971.
Geologique

and is a Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and of the


Sao
Paulo State Academy of Sciences. He was Vice-President of
the Comission for the Geological Map of the World co-sponsored
by the IUGS.

111

Benjamim Bley de Brito Neves got his


Ph.D. at the University of Sao
Paulo
USP. in 1975. During the last 40 years,
he worked on geological aspects of the
Borborema Province, including geological mapping, hydrogeology, tectonics
and isotope geology. Since 1984 he has
worked as Full Professor at the Geosciences Institute of the University of
Sao
Paulo. Since 1996 he has been
member of the Brazilian Academy of
Sciences. Presently he is a Brazilian representative at the Subcommission on Precambrian Stratigraphy of
the IUGS.

Celso Dal Re Carneiro got his Ph.D. at


the University of Sao
Paulo USP. in
1984. During the last 28 years, he
worked on geological aspects of the Precambrian of the Mantiqueira Province,
including geological mapping, structural
geology, tectonics, geomorphology and
applied geology. Since 1986 he has
worked as Professor at the Geosciences
Institute of the State University of
Campinas Unicamp.. Since 1996 he has
been an associate member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. Currently he is the coordinator of the
undergraduate course on Earth Sciences of Unicamp and a research project on the evolution of a Precambrian zone of Sao

Paulo State that has been subjected to environmental stresses


caused by an intensive human occupation.