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Abstract

During the late Paleocene, volcanic activity increased sharply in the area of the Rockall-Faeroe Trough, in the southern parts of the Norwegian-Greenland Sea Rift, between the Rockall-Hatton-Faeroe Bank and Greenland, and in the Davies Strait. Additional volcanic centers developed to the north of Ellesmere Island at the junction between the Nansen Rift and the Senja-De Geer fracture zone (Plate 17).

This regional volcanic surge, during which extensive plateau basalts were extruded, is referred to as the so-called Thulean Volcanism. It is the surface expression of the final rifting phase that preceded crustal separation between Greenland and the Rockall-Hatton-Faeroe Bank and Norway, between the Barents-Kara Sea Shelf and the Lomonosov Ridge, and between Greenland and Baffin Island (Talwani and Eldholm, 1977; Srivastava and Falconer, 1982). Following crustal separation and the beginning of sea-floor spreading in these areas, volcanic activity generally abated quickly but persisted till the present in the Iceland hotspot (Vogt, 1983).

In the Labrador Sea, a major change occurred in the location of its sea-floor spreading axis during the late Paleocene between anomalies 25 and 24 (TUcholke and Fry, 1985). This was paralleled by the development of the Reykjanes sea-floor spreading ridge in the northward prolongation of the North Atlantic spreading axis, and of the Aegir and Mohn’s ridges in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. In the Arctic-North Atlantic, the oldest magnetic sea-floor anomaly recognized is anomaly 24. This suggests that crustal separation between Eurasia and Greenland was achieved around 56 Ma during the earliest Eocene (Talwani and Eldholm, 1977; Vogt

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