Structural evolution and basin architecture of the Traill Ø region, NE Greenland

A record of polyphase rifting of the East Greenland continental margin

A. J. Parsons*, A. G. Whitham, S. R. A. Kelly, B. P. H. Vautravers, T. J. S. Dalton, S. D. Andrews, C. S. Pickles, D. P. Strogen, W. Braham, D. W. Jolley, F. J. Gregory

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fault block basins exposed along NE Greenland provide insights into the tectonic evolution of East Greenland and the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. We present a new geological map and cross sections of the Traill Ø region, NE Greenland, which formed the western margin of the Vøring Basin prior to Cenozoic seafloor spreading. Observations support a polyphase rift evolution with three rift phases during Devonian-Triassic, Jurassic-Cretaceous, and Cenozoic time. The greatest amounts of faulting and block rotation occurred during Cenozoic rifting, which we correlate with development of the continent- ocean transition after ca. 56 Ma and the Jan Mayen microcontinent after ca. 36 Ma. A newly devised macrofaunal-based stratigraphic framework for the Cretaceous sandy mudstone succession provides insights into Jurassic- Cretaceous rifting. We identify a reduction in sedimentation rates during the Late Cretaceous; this corresponds to a transition from structurally confined to unconfined sedimentation that coincides with increased clastic sedimentation to the Vøring and Møre Basins derived from East Greenland. With each rift phase we record an increase in the number of active faults and a decrease in the spacing between them. We attribute this to fault block rotation that leads to an excess build-up of stress that can only be released by the creation of new steep faults. In addition, we observe a stepwise migration of deformation toward the rift axis that we attribute to preexisting lithospheric heterogeneity that was modified during subsequent rift and post-rift phases. Such observations are not readily conformable to classic rift evolution models and highlight the importance of post-rift lithospheric processes that occur during polyphase rift evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-770
Number of pages38
JournalGeosphere
Volume13
Issue number3
Early online date10 May 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Fingerprint

rifting
continental margin
Cretaceous
block rotation
basin
Jurassic
sedimentation
ocean-continent transition
seafloor spreading
active fault
tectonic evolution
sedimentation rate
mudstone
faulting
spacing
Triassic
cross section

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy

Cite this

Parsons, A. J., Whitham, A. G., Kelly, S. R. A., Vautravers, B. P. H., Dalton, T. J. S., Andrews, S. D., ... Gregory, F. J. (2017). Structural evolution and basin architecture of the Traill Ø region, NE Greenland: A record of polyphase rifting of the East Greenland continental margin. Geosphere, 13(3), 733-770. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01382.1

Structural evolution and basin architecture of the Traill Ø region, NE Greenland : A record of polyphase rifting of the East Greenland continental margin. / Parsons, A. J.; Whitham, A. G.; Kelly, S. R. A.; Vautravers, B. P. H.; Dalton, T. J. S.; Andrews, S. D.; Pickles, C. S.; Strogen, D. P.; Braham, W.; Jolley, D. W.; Gregory, F. J.

In: Geosphere, Vol. 13, No. 3, 06.2017, p. 733-770.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Parsons, AJ, Whitham, AG, Kelly, SRA, Vautravers, BPH, Dalton, TJS, Andrews, SD, Pickles, CS, Strogen, DP, Braham, W, Jolley, DW & Gregory, FJ 2017, 'Structural evolution and basin architecture of the Traill Ø region, NE Greenland: A record of polyphase rifting of the East Greenland continental margin', Geosphere, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 733-770. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01382.1
Parsons, A. J. ; Whitham, A. G. ; Kelly, S. R. A. ; Vautravers, B. P. H. ; Dalton, T. J. S. ; Andrews, S. D. ; Pickles, C. S. ; Strogen, D. P. ; Braham, W. ; Jolley, D. W. ; Gregory, F. J. / Structural evolution and basin architecture of the Traill Ø region, NE Greenland : A record of polyphase rifting of the East Greenland continental margin. In: Geosphere. 2017 ; Vol. 13, No. 3. pp. 733-770.
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abstract = "Fault block basins exposed along NE Greenland provide insights into the tectonic evolution of East Greenland and the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. We present a new geological map and cross sections of the Traill {\O} region, NE Greenland, which formed the western margin of the V{\o}ring Basin prior to Cenozoic seafloor spreading. Observations support a polyphase rift evolution with three rift phases during Devonian-Triassic, Jurassic-Cretaceous, and Cenozoic time. The greatest amounts of faulting and block rotation occurred during Cenozoic rifting, which we correlate with development of the continent- ocean transition after ca. 56 Ma and the Jan Mayen microcontinent after ca. 36 Ma. A newly devised macrofaunal-based stratigraphic framework for the Cretaceous sandy mudstone succession provides insights into Jurassic- Cretaceous rifting. We identify a reduction in sedimentation rates during the Late Cretaceous; this corresponds to a transition from structurally confined to unconfined sedimentation that coincides with increased clastic sedimentation to the V{\o}ring and M{\o}re Basins derived from East Greenland. With each rift phase we record an increase in the number of active faults and a decrease in the spacing between them. We attribute this to fault block rotation that leads to an excess build-up of stress that can only be released by the creation of new steep faults. In addition, we observe a stepwise migration of deformation toward the rift axis that we attribute to preexisting lithospheric heterogeneity that was modified during subsequent rift and post-rift phases. Such observations are not readily conformable to classic rift evolution models and highlight the importance of post-rift lithospheric processes that occur during polyphase rift evolution.",
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AU - Kelly, S. R. A.

AU - Vautravers, B. P. H.

AU - Dalton, T. J. S.

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N2 - Fault block basins exposed along NE Greenland provide insights into the tectonic evolution of East Greenland and the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. We present a new geological map and cross sections of the Traill Ø region, NE Greenland, which formed the western margin of the Vøring Basin prior to Cenozoic seafloor spreading. Observations support a polyphase rift evolution with three rift phases during Devonian-Triassic, Jurassic-Cretaceous, and Cenozoic time. The greatest amounts of faulting and block rotation occurred during Cenozoic rifting, which we correlate with development of the continent- ocean transition after ca. 56 Ma and the Jan Mayen microcontinent after ca. 36 Ma. A newly devised macrofaunal-based stratigraphic framework for the Cretaceous sandy mudstone succession provides insights into Jurassic- Cretaceous rifting. We identify a reduction in sedimentation rates during the Late Cretaceous; this corresponds to a transition from structurally confined to unconfined sedimentation that coincides with increased clastic sedimentation to the Vøring and Møre Basins derived from East Greenland. With each rift phase we record an increase in the number of active faults and a decrease in the spacing between them. We attribute this to fault block rotation that leads to an excess build-up of stress that can only be released by the creation of new steep faults. In addition, we observe a stepwise migration of deformation toward the rift axis that we attribute to preexisting lithospheric heterogeneity that was modified during subsequent rift and post-rift phases. Such observations are not readily conformable to classic rift evolution models and highlight the importance of post-rift lithospheric processes that occur during polyphase rift evolution.

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