Tectonic inversion in the Wandel Sea Basin: A new structural model of Kilen (eastern North Greenland)

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24 Citations (Scopus)


The seminunatak Kilen in eastern North Greenland, with its complexly deformed Carboniferous-Cretaceous strata, is a key area to understand the tectonic history of the transform plate boundary between eastern North Greenland and Svalbard. Detailed 3-D geological mapping from oblique photogrammetry along with limited ground fieldwork and interpretation of previously published data forms the basis for a new structural model of Kilen. Previous structural models interpreted rhombic-shaped fault patterns as the evidence for strike-slip tectonics. These structures are here interpreted to be the result of a post-Coniacian NE-SW extension with NW-SE trending normal faults followed by later, N-S compression of presumable Paleocene-Eocene age, folding the faults passively and suggesting the presence of a basal detachment. Furthermore, two thrust sheets have been distinguished on Kilen: a lower Kilen Thrust Sheet and an upper Hondal Elv Thrust Sheet separated by a subhorizontal fault: the Central Detachment. The style of deformation and the structures described are interpreted as the result of Paleocene-Eocene N-S directed compression resulting in basin inversion with strike-slip faults only having minor status. This indicates that the Greenland margin as exposed on Kilen and the conjugate Svalbard margin in the West Spitsbergen fold-and-thrust belt are more similar than previously anticipated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2896-2917
Number of pages22
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Artic
  • compression
  • inversion tectonics
  • North Greenland
  • rifting
  • Wandel Sea Basin

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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