The Jan Mayen microplate complex and the Wilson cycle
Published:November 11, 2019
Christian Schiffer, Alexander Peace, Jordan Phethean, Laurent Gernigon, Ken McCaffrey, Kenni D. Petersen, Gillian Foulger, 2019. "The Jan Mayen microplate complex and the Wilson cycle", Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, R. W. Wilson, G. A. Houseman, K. J. W. McCaffrey, A. G. Doré, S. J. H. Buiter
Download citation file:
The opening of the North Atlantic region was one of the most important geodynamic events that shaped the present day passive margins of Europe, Greenland and North America. Although well-studied, much remains to be understood about the evolution of the North Atlantic, including the role of the Jan Mayen microplate complex. Geophysical data provide an image of the crustal structure of this microplate and enable a detailed reconstruction of the rifting and spreading history. However, the mechanisms that cause the separation of microplates between conjugate margins are still poorly understood. We assemble recent models of rifting and passive margin formation in the North Atlantic and discuss possible scenarios that may have led to the formation of the Jan Mayen microplate complex. This event was probably triggered by regional plate tectonic reorganizations rejuvenating inherited structures. The axis of rifting and continental break-up and the width of the Jan Mayen microplate complex were controlled by old Caledonian fossil subduction/suture zones. Its length is related to east–west-oriented deformation and fracture zones, possibly linked to rheological heterogeneities inherited from the pre-existing Precambrian terrane boundaries.
Figures & Tables
Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Fifty years ago, Tuzo Wilson published his paper asking ‘Did the Atlantic close and then re-open?’. This led to the ‘Wilson Cycle’ concept in which the repeated opening and closing of ocean basins along old orogenic belts is a key process in the assembly and breakup of supercontinents. The Wilson Cycle underlies much of what we know about the geological evolution of the Earth and its lithosphere, and will no doubt continue to be developed as we gain more understanding of the physical processes that control mantle convection, plate tectonics, and as more data become available from currently less accessible regions.
This volume includes both thematic and review papers covering various aspects of the Wilson Cycle concept. Thematic sections include: (1) the Classic Wilson v. Supercontinent Cycles, (2) Mantle Dynamics in the Wilson Cycle, (3) Tectonic Inheritance in the Lithosphere, (4) Revisiting Tuzo's question on the Atlantic, (5) Opening and Closing of Oceans, and (6) Cratonic Basins and their place in the Wilson Cycle.