Cenozoic Motion of Greenland – Overlaps and Seaways

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Lawrence A Lawver, Ian O Norton and Lisa Gahagan, UTIG, Jackson School of Geosciences, Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States
Using the seafloor magnetic anomalies found in the Labrador Sea, North Atlantic and Eurasian basin to constrain the Cenozoic motion of Greenland, we have produced a new model for the tectonic evolution of the region. The aeromagnetic data collected by the Naval Research Lab [Brozena et al., 2003] in the Eurasian Basin and Canadian data from the Labrador Sea have been re-evaluated using new gridding algorithms and profile modeling using ModMag (Mendel et al., 2005). As a consequence, we have changed the published correlations, mostly prior to Chron C6 [19.05 Ma]. Presently published seafloor magnetic anomalies from the Labrador Sea assume that seafloor spreading ceased at C13 [33.06 Ma] but such an assumption produces an unacceptable overlap of Kronprins Christian Land of northeast Greenland with Svalbard, up to 140 km of overlap in some models. Our new model does not need any “unacceptable” overlap but does produce a slight amount of Eocene compression on Svalbard as is found on land there. Our model allows for an Early Eocene seaway between Ellesmere Island and northwest Greenland that may have connected the Labrador Sea through Baffin Bay and ultimately to the nascent Eurasian Basin, although its depth or even its essential existence is unknowable. During the Miocene, there is no room for a deepwater seaway in Fram Strait until at least the very end of the Early Miocene and perhaps not until Middle Miocene.

Brozena, J. and six others, 2003. New aerogeophysical study of the Eurasia Basin and Lomonosov Ridge: Implications for basin development. Geology 31, 825-828.

Mendel, V., M. Munschy and D.Sauter, 2005, MODMAG, a MATLAB program to model marine magnetic anomalies, Comp. Geosci., 31, .589–597