40Ar-39Ar ages of intrusions in East Greenland: Rift-to-drift transition over the Iceland hotspot

C. Tegner, C.K. Brooks, R.A. Duncan, L.E. Heister, S. Bernstein

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Sixteen 40Ar-39Ar ages are presented for alkaline intrusions to appraise prolonged post-breakup magmatism of the central East Greenland rifted margin, the chronology of rift-to-drift transition, and the asymmetry of magmatic activity in the Northeast Atlantic Igneous Province. The alkaline intrusions mainly crop out in tectonic and magmatic lineaments orthogonal to the rifted margin and occur up to 100km inland. The area south of the Kangerlussuaq Fjord includes at least four tectonic lineaments and the intrusions are confined to three time windows at 56-54Ma, 50-47Ma and 37-35Ma. In the Kangerlussuaq Fjord, which coincides with a major tectonic lineament possibly the failed arm of a triple junction, the alkaline plutons span from 56 to 40Ma. To the north and within the continental flood basalt succession, alkaline intrusions of the north-south trending Wiedemann Fjord-Kronborg Gletscher lineament range from 52 to 36Ma.We show that post-breakup magmatism of the East Greenland rifted margin can be linked to reconfiguration of spreading ridges in the Northeast Atlantic. Northwards propagation of the proto-Kolbeinsey ridge rifted the Jan Mayen micro-continent away from central East Greenland and resulted in protracted rift-to-drift transition. The intrusions of the Wiedemann Fjord-Kronborg Gletscher lineament are interpreted as a failed continental rift system and the intrusions of the Kangerlussuaq Fjord as off-axis magmatism. The post-breakup intrusions south of Kangerlussuaq Fjord occur landward of the Greenland-Iceland Rise and are explained by mantle melting caused first by the crossing of the central East Greenland rifted margin over the axis of the Iceland mantle plume (50-47Ma) and later by uplift associated with regional plate-tectonic reorganization (37-35Ma). The Iceland mantle plume was instrumental in causing protracted rift-to-drift transition and post-breakup tholeiitic and alkaline magmatism on the East Greenland rifted margin, and asymmetry in the magmatic history of the conjugate margins of the central Northeast Atlantic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-500
Number of pages21
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronology
  • East Greenland
  • Iceland mantle plume
  • Intrusions
  • Northeast Atlantic
  • Volcanic rifted margin

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


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