Geological research and mapping in the Caledonian orogen of East Greenland, 70°N–82°N
Published:January 01, 2008
Niels Henriksen, A.K. Higgins, 2008. "Geological research and mapping in the Caledonian orogen of East Greenland, 70°N–82°N", The Greenland Caledonides: Evolution of the Northeast Margin of Laurentia, A.K. Higgins, Jane A. Gilotti, M. Paul Smith
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The East Greenland Caledonides, which make up an ∼1300-km-long stretch of North-East Greenland, were formed by the collision of Laurentia and Baltica in mid-Silurian time. Geological mapping and research in this remote and poorly accessible segment of the circum-Atlantic Caledonide orogen began in connection with geographical exploration voyages in the early part of the nineteenth century. The first regional geological mapping took place during the long series of “The Danish Expeditions to North-East Greenland” between 1926 and 1958. Modern geological research and regional mapping by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland between 1968 and 1998 have resulted in the publication of a series of 1:500,000 geological maps of the orogen, and an overview geological map at 1:1,000,000 scale, which accompanies this volume.
This article reviews the history of geological research and the evolution of interpretations of the orogen. The recent systematic studies by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland supplement and build on the considerable existing published literature and demonstrate that the North-East Greenland segment of the Caledonide orogen consists of a westward-propagating thrust sheet pile, with displacements estimated at 300–500 km. The thrust sheets incorporate major segments of reworked Laurentian gneiss basement, and a thick succession of Neoproterozoic to Ordovician sediments that accumulated in a major basin originally located outboard of the present coastline.