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Magnetic and paleontologie data indicate that the Norwegian-Greenland sea opened about 60 m.y. ago with the initiation of sea-floor spreading along the axis of a midoceanic ridge. Within the Norwegian basin, evidence points toward an extinct ridge axis which shifted westward during the mid-Tertiary. Complex Iceland-style sea-floor spreading may have existed on the largely emergent Iceland plateau until about 10 m.y. ago, when Kolbeinsey Ridge became active.

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