Cenozoic uplift of Nuussuaq and Disko, West Greenland—elevated erosion surfaces as uplift markers of a passive margin

Johan M. Bonow, Peter Japsen, Karna Lidmar-Bergström, James A. Chalmers, Asger Ken Pedersen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

70 Citationer (Scopus)


Remnants of a high plateau have been identified on Nuussuaq and Disko, central West Greenland. We interpret the plateau as an erosion surface (the summit erosion surface) formed mainly by a fluvial system and graded close to its former base level and subsequently uplifted to its present elevation. It extends over 150 km east-west, being of low relative relief, broken along faults, tilted westwards in the west and eastwards in the east, and having a maximum elevation of ca. 2 km in central Nuussuaq and Disko. The summit erosion surface cuts across Precambrian basement rocks and Paleocene-Eocene lavas, constraining its age to being substantially younger than the last rift event in the Nuussuaq Basin, which took place during the late Maastrichtian and Danian. The geological record shows that the Nuussuaq Basin was subjected to subsidence of several kilometres during Paleocene-Eocene volcanism and was transgressed by the sea later during the Eocene. By comparing with results from apatite fission track analysis and vitrinite reflectance maturity data, it is suggested that formation of the erosion surface was probably triggered by an uplift and erosion event starting between 40 and 30 Ma. Surface formation was completed prior to an uplift event that started between 11 and 10 Ma and caused valley incision. This generation of valleys graded to the new base level and formed a lower erosion surface, at most 1 km below the summit erosion surface, thus indicating the magnitude of its uplift. Formation of this generation of valleys was interrupted by a third uplift event also with a magnitude of 1 km that lifted the landscape to near its present position. Correlation with the fission-track record suggests that this uplift event started between 7 and 2 Ma. Uplift must have been caused initially by tectonism. Isostatic compensation due to erosion and loading and unloading of ice sheets has added to the magnitude of uplift but have not significantly altered the configuration of the surface. It is concluded that the elevations of palaeosurfaces (surfaces not in accordance with present climate or tectonic conditions) on West Greenland's passive margin can be used to define the magnitude and lateral variations of Neogene uplift events. The striking similarity between the landforms in West Greenland and those on many other passive margins is also noted.

Sider (fra-til)325-337
Antal sider13
Udgave nummer3-4
StatusUdgivet - 30 okt. 2006


  • Programområde 4: Mineralske råstoffer


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om 'Cenozoic uplift of Nuussuaq and Disko, West Greenland—elevated erosion surfaces as uplift markers of a passive margin'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.