Aspects of the structure on the coast of the West Greenland volcanic province revealed in seismic data

Nina Skaarup, T. Christopher R. Pulvertaft

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13 Citationer (Scopus)


The coastal structure in central West Greenland is expressed by Palaeogene basalts which show pronounced seaward dip. Traced along strike the tilted basalts occur in two segments, separated by an area in which dips are low. Within these segments the lavas have been displaced by extensional faults with strike parallel to the strike of the lavas and dip and downthrow to the landward side. This structural pattern bears many similarities to regional structural features in volcanic rifted margins in other parts of the world, although in West Greenland the continent-ocean boundary is situated more than 100 km west of the coast. The structure has previously been studied onshore and has now been studied in high-resolution seismic data acquired both west of the coast and in the sounds between the Nuussuaq and Svartenhuk peninsulas. From the offshore data it can be seen that within the sections correlated with mid-Paleocene volcanic rocks onshore, the tilting of the lavas took place almost entirely after eruption, as there is little or no indication of any increase of dip towards the faults or of fan-shaped geometry in cross-section. However, southwest of Ubekendt Ejland and stratigraphically within Early Eocene lavas, dips can be seen to increase with depth in several fault blocks, indicating that tilting was active during eruption of these lavas. It is therefore concluded that tilting of the volcanic rocks in the coastal zone took place largely in the Eocene. This conclusion is corroborated by the following onshore evidence: Firstly, the angle of discordance between seaward-dipping Eocene lavas and the underlying tilted Paleocene lavas is small, where observed at all, so the mid-Paleocene lavas must owe their seaward dip largely to tilting during the Eocene. Secondly, Early Eocene ages have been obtained from sequentially tilted dykes onshore. This tilting and concomitant extensional faulting was contemporaneous with the second phase of seafloor spreading in the Labrador Sea which took place during the Eocene. The first phase of seafloor spreading in this sea took place between magnetochrons 27r and 24r and was not accompanied by significant rifting of lavas in central West Greenland. It can also be seen from the seismic data that the tilted lavas level out less than 25 km from the coast. West of this, the volcanics generally show very low dips and thin gradually towards the continent-ocean boundary.

Sider (fra-til)65-80
Antal sider16
TidsskriftBulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2007


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