A 380 km long coast-parallel alkali basalt dyke swarm cutting the Precambrian basement in south-western Greenland has generally been regarded as one of the earliest manifestations of rifting during continental stretching prior to break-up in the Labrador Sea. Therefore, the age of this swarm has been used in models for the evolution of the Labrador Sea, although it has been uncertain due to earlier discrepant K–Ar dates. Two dykes from this swarm situated 200 km apart have now been dated by the 40Ar–39Ar step-heating method. Separated biotites yield plateau ages of 133.3 ± 0.7 Ma and 138.6 ± 0.7 Ma, respectively. One of the dykes has excess argon. Plagioclase separates confirm the biotite ages but yield less precise results. The age 133– 138 Ma is earliest Cretaceous, Berriasian to Valanginian, and the dyke swarm is near-coeval with the oldest igneous rocks (the Alexis Formation) on the Labrador shelf. A small swarm of alkali basalt dykes in the Sukkertoppen (Maniitsoq) region of southern West Greenland was also dated. Two separated kaersutites from one sample yield an average plateau age of 55.2 ± 1.2 Ma. This is the Paleocene–Eocene boundary. The swarm represents the only known rocks of that age within several hundred kilometres and may be related to changes in the stress regime during reorganisation of plate movements at 55 Ma when break-up between Greenland and Europe took place.
- Programområde 4: Mineralske råstoffer