The syn-volcanic Naajaat lake, Paleocene of West Greenland

Gunver Krarup Pedersen, Lotte Melchior Larsen, Asger Ken Pedersen, Birgitte Ferré Hjortkjær

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The Naajaat lake in the Nuussuaq Basin on Disko and Nuussuaq formed in a geological setting between cratonic crystalline Precambrian rocks overlain by Cretaceous sediments and an actively forming Paleocene volcanic province. The lacustrine deposits, shales as well as hyaloclastite breccias, accumulated in low-lying areas inundated by fresh water and sealed off from marine transgressions by a broad subaerial volcanic terrain. Foreset-bedded hyaloclastite breccias demonstrate water depths of up to 450 m, and the area of the lake was 2500 km2 at its maximum extent. The lake probably existed for less than 0.5 million years. The lake received clay and silt from two provenance areas. Quartz contents of more than 25% in the majority of the sediment samples indicate that large amounts of material were continuously supplied to the lake from the crystalline terrain, whereas the volcanic terrain supplied smectite and mixed-layer minerals to the lake. High kaolinite contents stem from the crystalline or both provenance areas. The shales are characterized by high TOC (up to 11%), lack of pyrite, presence of terrestrial spores and pollen and lack of marine dinoflagellates. The lacustrine sediments rest on an erosional unconformity and its correlative conformity. The unconformity developed during the latest Cretaceous and Early Paleocene. Five stages are recognized in the geological development of the lake. Stages 1–4 are characterized by accumulation of hyaloclastite breccias, rise in lake level, and eventual transgression of subaerial terrains. The rises in lake level were caused by stemming of fluvial run-off behind the aggrading volcanic pile. Stage 5 corresponds to cessation of volcanic activity, a stable lake level, and progradation of clastic sediments, resulting in infilling of the lake. During the lacustrine transgression only sediment in suspension was transported into the central parts of the lake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-287
Number of pages17
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1998

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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