Journal article

Scandinavia’s North Atlantic passive margin

  • Mosar, Jon Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Published in:
  • Journal of Geophysical Research. - 2003, vol. 108, no. 8, p. 2360
English The tectonics of the eastern passive margin of the North Atlantic are reexamined. The Scandinavian North Atlantic passive margin includes not only the offshore exploration and basin domain but also large portions of the onshore domains of the Scandinavian Caledonides. Combined information from structural geology, potential field data, regional geology, basin development, and geomorphology made it possible to propose a new definition of the passive margin. The rift shoulder is formed by linked faults defining the present rift flank. These faults are the extensional structures located furthest to the east onshore Norway/Sweden that can be linked to the rifting that led to the formation of the North Atlantic. This innermost boundary fault system (IBF) is formed by a set of normal west dipping crustal faults. It extends over a distance exceeding 2000 km from the North Sea, across the Caledonian mountain belt to the Barents Sea. The passive margin width, between the continent-ocean boundary and the IBF, ranges from 550 km in the south to over 700 km in mid-Norway to 165 km north of Lofoten. Rifting and faulting on the IBF started in Permo-Carboniferous, and a succession of rift phases eventually culminated in continental breakup and the formation of the North Atlantic. Basin development between Permian and Cretaceous was toward the future breakaway fault, but faulting was also active on land from Mesozoic to Present. Onshore-offshore crustal-scale cross sections show the geometry of the passive margin, the dip orientation of the major faults and the changes in crustal thickness.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Géosciences
  • English
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