Thermo-tectonic development of the Wandel Sea Basin, North Greenland




Wandel Sea Basin, Eurekan Orogeny, exhumation, North Greenland, Svalbard, Sverdrup Basin, thermochronology, uplift


The Carboniferous–Palaeogene Wandel Sea Basin of eastern North Greenland (north of 80°N, east of 40°W) is an important piece in the puzzle of Arctic geology. It is particularly important for understanding how the Paleocene–Eocene convergence between Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and Svalbard relates to the compressional tectonics in the High Arctic, collectively known as the Eurekan Orogeny. In this study, we present apatite fission-track analysis (AFTA) data and review published vitrinite reflectance data combined with observations from the stratigraphic record to place firmer constraints on the timing of key tectonic events. This research study reveals a long history of episodic burial and exhumation since the collapse of the Palaeozoic fold belts in Greenland. Our results define pre-Cenozoic exhumation episodes in early Permian, Late Triassic, Late Jurassic and mid-Cretaceous times, each involving the removal of kilometre-scale sedimentary covers. Mid-Paleocene exhumation defines the timing of compression along the major fault zones during the first stage of the Eurekan Orogeny, after the onset of sea-floor spreading west of Greenland. Regional exhumation that began at the end of the Eocene led to the removal of most of a kilometre-thick cover that had accumulated during Eocene subsidence and involved a major reverse movement along the Harder Fjord Fault Zone, northern Peary Land. These events took place after the end of sea-floor spreading west of Greenland, and thus, represent post-Eurekan tectonics. Mid–late Miocene exhumation is most likely a consequence of uplift and incision across most of the Wandel Sea Basin study area. The preserved sedimentary sequences of the Wandel Sea Basin represent remnants of thicker strata that likely extended substantially beyond the present-day outline of the basin. We find that the present-day outline of the basin with scattered sedimentary outliers is primarily the result of fault inversion during Eurekan compression followed by deposition and removal of a kilometre-thick overburden.


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How to Cite

Japsen, P., Green, P. F., & Chalmers, J. A. . (2021). Thermo-tectonic development of the Wandel Sea Basin, North Greenland. GEUS Bulletin, 45(1).

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