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The Devonian-Carboniferous transition on Laurussia was a time of diverse geologic activity associated with the assembly of Pangea, including episodes of Late Devonian glacial-eustatic lowstand and active orogeny on four margins. Six widespread unconformities are present in the Devonian-Carboniferous (Mississippian) interval on southern parts of Laurussia. We suggest that attention to the timing and plan of the unconformities may provide ways of discerning tectonic and climatic controls on their respective origins. Indeed, unconformities generated by pure eustasy are ideally of interregional extent, whereas unconformities generated by tectonism reflect more local factors associated with the evolution of sedimentary basins. Each of the six unconformities analyzed provides evidence for concurrent eustasy and tectonism. Glaciation was apparently the dominant factor driving the development of unconformities during the latest Devonian. During the Early Carboniferous, however, the volume of glacial ice available to drive eustasy was limited and, at times, tectonism may have been the source of a subordinate eustatic signal. Development of unconformities in southern Laurussia appear to be local manifestations of tectonic and climatic processes associated with supercontinent assembly. Thus, the time may be at hand for construction of a new global stratigraphic paradigm that is based on the plate tectonic supercycle affecting continentality and climate.
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Development of multiple unconformities during the Devonian-Carboniferous transition on parts of Laurussia