Cenozoic Suturing of Eurasia and Africa-Arabia
Crustal separation between Europe and North America-Greenland during the earliest Eocene, followed by the progressive opening of the Arctic-North Atlantic Ocean, was paralleled by collision of Africa-Arabia and Eurasia leading to their welding together along the Alpine megasuture.
This involved continued northward drift and also the counterclockwise rotation of Africa-Arabia relative to Eurasia in response to the progressive opening of the Central and South Atlantic and the Indian oceans (Hsu, 1982; Livermore and Smith, 1985;Savostinetal., 1986; Dercourtet al., 1986).
Sinistral differential movements between Africa-Arabia and Europe, which had decreased substantially during the latest Cretaceous and early Paleocene, ceased altogether during the latest Paleocene-earliest Eocene as a consequence of the onset of sea-floor spreading in the northern North Atlantic, the Norwegian-Greenland Sea, and the Eurasian Basin (Plate 17).
Africa-Arabia and Europe converged during the Eocene in an approximately north-south direction; during the Oligocene and early Miocene, their convergence direction changed, however, to a northwesterly dextral oblique one (Plate 18). This was the effect of differences in the rates of sea-floor spreading in the Central Atlantic and in the Arctic-North Atlantic. Magnetic seafloor anomalies indicate that sea-floor spreading slowed down in the Central Atlantic after anomaly 13 (± 37 Ma, Rupelian) whereas no corresponding change in spreading rates is evident in the North Atlantic until after anomaly 6 (Â± 20 Ma, Burdigalian) (Savostin et al, 1986). This would explain the dextral translation between Europe and Africa-Arabia that was superposed on their continued northward convergence. These plate motions governed the Main-Alpine orogenic phases
Figures & Tables
A broad, multi-disciplinary overview of the late Paleozoic to Recent geological evolution of much of northeastern North America, Greenland, all of Europe, and the northern parts of North Africa. This outstanding synthesis of regional geology retraces the evolution of sedimentary basins developed during the rifting phases that preceded the opening of North Atlantic ocean basins and highlights the scope of the associated intra-plate phenomena.This CD publication is the digital version of AAPG's landmark 1988 volume on the evolution of the North Atlantic Ocean. Ten chapters and 30 full-color plates. 200 pages. All articles presented in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.