Breakup volcanism and plate tectonics in the NW Atlantic

M. M. Abdelmalak (Corresponding Author), S. Planke, S. Polteau, E. H. Hartz, J. I. Faleide, C. Tegner, D. A. Jerram, J. M. Millett, R. Myklebust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Passive margins are the locus of tectonic and magmatic processes leading to the formation of highly variable along-strike and conjugate margins structures. Using extensive new seismic, gravity, and magnetic datasets, complemented by seabed samples and field work, we investigate the tectonomagmatic evolution of the northwest (NW) Atlantic where breakup-related igneous rocks were emplaced during several Paleogene events associated with lithospheric stretching, continental breakup, and the formation of new oceanic basins. Interpretational methods include integrated seismic-gravity-magnetic (SGM) interpretation and seismic volcanostratigraphy. In addition, seabed and field samples were collected and analyzed to constrain the basin stratigraphy, hydrocarbon potential, and the geochronology and geochemistry of the volcanic sequences. Offshore, 2D seismic data reveal several Seaward Dipping Reflector (SDR) wedges and escarpments in the Labrador Sea, Davis Strait, and Baffin Bay. Onshore, eastward prograding foreset-bedded hyaloclastite delta deposits and overlying horizontal lava successions outcrop on Nuussuaq. These hyaloclastites and lava successions are world class analogues to the Lava Delta and Landward Flows volcanic seismic facies units identified offshore. Our mapping results document an aerial extent of the Paleogene breakup-related volcanics of 0.3 × 106 km2, with an estimated volume of 0.5–0.6 × 106 km3. Basalt samples recovered by dredging the Upernavik Escarpment have late Paleocene to/early Eocene ages, whereas the sedimentary samples provide an excellent seismic tie with the stratigraphy and the geology in this frontier area. From the integrated SGM interpretation, we identify a rapidly thinning crust and changes in top and intra-basement seismic reflection characteristics in the oceanic domain correlated with transition between different magnetic domains. The mapping results were subsequently integrated in a plate tectonic model. The plate tectonic reconstruction and basalt geochronology suggest that the majority of the volcanism in the NW Atlantic occurred between ~62 and ~58 Ma, associated with an increased spreading rate in the Labrador Sea, starting from the onset of the Selandian (~61.6 Ma). A change in the spreading direction during the Eocene (~56 Ma), synchronously with a shift of volcanic activity from the NW to the NE Atlantic, correspond to a northward drift of Greenland and the initiation of the Eurekan Orogeny. Finally, our interpretations reveal a complex rift configuration along the NW Atlantic conjugate margins both prior to and during breakup.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-296
Number of pages30
JournalTectonophysics
Volume760
Early online date31 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2019

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plates (tectonics)
plate tectonics
lava
volcanology
tectonics
volcanism
escarpment
gravity
Labrador
margins
escarpments
geochronology
Paleogene
stratigraphy
Eocene
gravitation
basalt
Selandian
hyaloclastite
tectonic reconstruction

Keywords

  • NW Atlantic
  • Breakup-related magmatism
  • Seismic volcanostratigraphy
  • Plate tectonic reconstruction

Cite this

Abdelmalak, M. M., Planke, S., Polteau, S., Hartz, E. H., Faleide, J. I., Tegner, C., ... Myklebust, R. (2019). Breakup volcanism and plate tectonics in the NW Atlantic. Tectonophysics, 760, 267-296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2018.08.002

Breakup volcanism and plate tectonics in the NW Atlantic. / Abdelmalak, M. M. (Corresponding Author); Planke, S.; Polteau, S.; Hartz, E. H.; Faleide, J. I.; Tegner, C.; Jerram, D. A.; Millett, J. M.; Myklebust, R.

In: Tectonophysics, Vol. 760, 05.06.2019, p. 267-296.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abdelmalak, MM, Planke, S, Polteau, S, Hartz, EH, Faleide, JI, Tegner, C, Jerram, DA, Millett, JM & Myklebust, R 2019, 'Breakup volcanism and plate tectonics in the NW Atlantic' Tectonophysics, vol. 760, pp. 267-296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2018.08.002
Abdelmalak MM, Planke S, Polteau S, Hartz EH, Faleide JI, Tegner C et al. Breakup volcanism and plate tectonics in the NW Atlantic. Tectonophysics. 2019 Jun 5;760:267-296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2018.08.002
Abdelmalak, M. M. ; Planke, S. ; Polteau, S. ; Hartz, E. H. ; Faleide, J. I. ; Tegner, C. ; Jerram, D. A. ; Millett, J. M. ; Myklebust, R. / Breakup volcanism and plate tectonics in the NW Atlantic. In: Tectonophysics. 2019 ; Vol. 760. pp. 267-296.
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AU - Abdelmalak, M. M.

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AU - Millett, J. M.

AU - Myklebust, R.

N1 - The seismic, magnetic, and gravity data presented in this study were provided by TGS. Seismic interpretation was done using HS Kingdom software. Grid interpolations and map compilations were established using Geosoft Oasis Montaj and ArcGis softwares. We would like thank Craig Magee, Alexander Lewis Peace, the Editor and the Associated Editor for helpful comments and guidance that improved the paper. We acknowledge the support from the Research Council of Norway through its Center of Excellence funding scheme, project 223272 (CEED).

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N2 - Passive margins are the locus of tectonic and magmatic processes leading to the formation of highly variable along-strike and conjugate margins structures. Using extensive new seismic, gravity, and magnetic datasets, complemented by seabed samples and field work, we investigate the tectonomagmatic evolution of the northwest (NW) Atlantic where breakup-related igneous rocks were emplaced during several Paleogene events associated with lithospheric stretching, continental breakup, and the formation of new oceanic basins. Interpretational methods include integrated seismic-gravity-magnetic (SGM) interpretation and seismic volcanostratigraphy. In addition, seabed and field samples were collected and analyzed to constrain the basin stratigraphy, hydrocarbon potential, and the geochronology and geochemistry of the volcanic sequences. Offshore, 2D seismic data reveal several Seaward Dipping Reflector (SDR) wedges and escarpments in the Labrador Sea, Davis Strait, and Baffin Bay. Onshore, eastward prograding foreset-bedded hyaloclastite delta deposits and overlying horizontal lava successions outcrop on Nuussuaq. These hyaloclastites and lava successions are world class analogues to the Lava Delta and Landward Flows volcanic seismic facies units identified offshore. Our mapping results document an aerial extent of the Paleogene breakup-related volcanics of 0.3 × 106 km2, with an estimated volume of 0.5–0.6 × 106 km3. Basalt samples recovered by dredging the Upernavik Escarpment have late Paleocene to/early Eocene ages, whereas the sedimentary samples provide an excellent seismic tie with the stratigraphy and the geology in this frontier area. From the integrated SGM interpretation, we identify a rapidly thinning crust and changes in top and intra-basement seismic reflection characteristics in the oceanic domain correlated with transition between different magnetic domains. The mapping results were subsequently integrated in a plate tectonic model. The plate tectonic reconstruction and basalt geochronology suggest that the majority of the volcanism in the NW Atlantic occurred between ~62 and ~58 Ma, associated with an increased spreading rate in the Labrador Sea, starting from the onset of the Selandian (~61.6 Ma). A change in the spreading direction during the Eocene (~56 Ma), synchronously with a shift of volcanic activity from the NW to the NE Atlantic, correspond to a northward drift of Greenland and the initiation of the Eurekan Orogeny. Finally, our interpretations reveal a complex rift configuration along the NW Atlantic conjugate margins both prior to and during breakup.

AB - Passive margins are the locus of tectonic and magmatic processes leading to the formation of highly variable along-strike and conjugate margins structures. Using extensive new seismic, gravity, and magnetic datasets, complemented by seabed samples and field work, we investigate the tectonomagmatic evolution of the northwest (NW) Atlantic where breakup-related igneous rocks were emplaced during several Paleogene events associated with lithospheric stretching, continental breakup, and the formation of new oceanic basins. Interpretational methods include integrated seismic-gravity-magnetic (SGM) interpretation and seismic volcanostratigraphy. In addition, seabed and field samples were collected and analyzed to constrain the basin stratigraphy, hydrocarbon potential, and the geochronology and geochemistry of the volcanic sequences. Offshore, 2D seismic data reveal several Seaward Dipping Reflector (SDR) wedges and escarpments in the Labrador Sea, Davis Strait, and Baffin Bay. Onshore, eastward prograding foreset-bedded hyaloclastite delta deposits and overlying horizontal lava successions outcrop on Nuussuaq. These hyaloclastites and lava successions are world class analogues to the Lava Delta and Landward Flows volcanic seismic facies units identified offshore. Our mapping results document an aerial extent of the Paleogene breakup-related volcanics of 0.3 × 106 km2, with an estimated volume of 0.5–0.6 × 106 km3. Basalt samples recovered by dredging the Upernavik Escarpment have late Paleocene to/early Eocene ages, whereas the sedimentary samples provide an excellent seismic tie with the stratigraphy and the geology in this frontier area. From the integrated SGM interpretation, we identify a rapidly thinning crust and changes in top and intra-basement seismic reflection characteristics in the oceanic domain correlated with transition between different magnetic domains. The mapping results were subsequently integrated in a plate tectonic model. The plate tectonic reconstruction and basalt geochronology suggest that the majority of the volcanism in the NW Atlantic occurred between ~62 and ~58 Ma, associated with an increased spreading rate in the Labrador Sea, starting from the onset of the Selandian (~61.6 Ma). A change in the spreading direction during the Eocene (~56 Ma), synchronously with a shift of volcanic activity from the NW to the NE Atlantic, correspond to a northward drift of Greenland and the initiation of the Eurekan Orogeny. Finally, our interpretations reveal a complex rift configuration along the NW Atlantic conjugate margins both prior to and during breakup.

KW - NW Atlantic

KW - Breakup-related magmatism

KW - Seismic volcanostratigraphy

KW - Plate tectonic reconstruction

U2 - 10.1016/j.tecto.2018.08.002

DO - 10.1016/j.tecto.2018.08.002

M3 - Article

VL - 760

SP - 267

EP - 296

JO - Tectonophysics

JF - Tectonophysics

SN - 0040-1951

ER -