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In the North Atlantic, Laurentia–Eurasia break-up commenced in the Late Carboniferous, largely following the structural grain of the Caledonian Fold Belt. However, in the Arctic region, a 45° offset in the plate boundary between North Greenland and Svalbard was determined by a number of pre-Caledonian fundamental faults in North Greenland. As a result, this segment of the plate boundary experienced significant episodes of combined transtension and transpression, in part controlled by the movement of a temporarily independent Greenland Plate. Late Permian–Mesozoic deposits in the North Greenland Wandel Sea Basin record the plate-boundary history along this offset, in our view in a series of at least 20, variously disturbed, pull-apart basins, most of which can be assigned to four major episodes of pull-apart basin formation. The direction of the pre-existing fundamental faults, in combination with the regional variation in rock properties of both the basin floor and basin fill, explains the marked differences in tectonic style recorded along the plate boundary.

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