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Abstract

The post-Caledonian tectonic history and landscape evolution of southwestern Norway are poorly understood, primarily owing to the lack of onshore post-Devonian sediments. To bridge this knowledge gap, low-temperature thermochronological techniques were applied to investigate vertical movements in the upper crust. New apatite fission track and apatite and zircon (U–Th)/He analyses on samples from southwestern Norway yielded Permian to Jurassic, Triassic to Cretaceous and Carboniferous to Triassic ages, respectively. Thermal history modelling indicates relatively high cooling rates (2–3 °C Ma−1) throughout Permian to early Jurassic times. Since the Jurassic, samples from coastal areas have remained close to the surface and were reheated to 30–50 °C during sedimentary burial in the Cretaceous. Inland samples experienced lesser amounts of Permo-Triassic exhumation, continued to cool slowly (<1 °C Ma−1) throughout the Jurassic–Cretaceous and did not reach the surface until the Cenozoic. Both fission track and (U–Th)/He ages are offset across faults, highlighting the importance of fault activity throughout the Mesozoic. In combination with previously published results, the new data suggest that the geomorphological evolution of southwestern Norway is closely connected to rift- and post-rift tectonics related to North Sea and North Atlantic rifting. The topographic relief was most likely repeatedly rejuvenated during periods of tectonic activity.

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