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Early syndepositional tectonics of East Greenland's Old Red Sandstone basin

Ebbe Hartz
Ebbe Hartz
Department of Geology, Box 1047 Blindern, Oslo University, 0316 Oslo, Norway (e-mail:
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January 01, 2000


East Greenland's Old Red Sandstone basin formed in the interior of a mega-continent created by the Caledonian collision of Baltica and Laurentia. The basin has been regarded as a typical late- to post-orogenic extensional basin, formed in a collapsing orogen. Cross-cutting faults that have extended the basin substrata have been explained as Riedel and anti-Riedel shears that formed during basin initiation, but no detailed structural analysis has been presented. Analysis of geometrical relationships between faults and folds, and their relative timing with respect to the syn-tectonic deposits suggest a new model for basin evolution. In eastern Greenland, orogenic collapse was initiated at least as early as c. 425 Ma. Thus, the preserved Devonian basins formed after c. 70 Ma of large-magnitude crustal extension. Thick successions of Mid-Devonian Old Red Sandstone were deposited in troughs controlled by orogen-parallel extension and east–west folding. Later north–south-trending extensional structures cut the basal deposits, as episodes of folding continued until Permian time. Folding continued for c. 175 Ma after the Caledonian continent–continent collision and it is thus unrealistic to suggest that internal Caledonian forces caused these ‘late Caledonian spasms’. However, the collapsed orogen may have been thermally weakened, and the region was thus probably vulnerable to external forces resulting from the continuing orogenies along the rim of the megacontinent.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

New Perspectives on the Old Red Sandstone

Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2000




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