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Cambrian–Silurian development of the Laurentian margin of the Iapetus Ocean in Greenland and related areas

By
M. Paul Smith
M. Paul Smith
1
Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
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Jan Audun Rasmussen
Jan Audun Rasmussen
2
Natural History Museum of Denmark (Geology), University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
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Published:
January 01, 2008

The Iapetus margin of Laurentia is preserved, with varying degrees of deformation, along a belt that extends for 1300 km along the eastern coast of Greenland, from Scoresby Sund in the south to Kronprins Christian Land at the northernmost extent of the Caledonian–Appalachian orogen. Along the length of the Greenland Caledonides, deformation is restricted to a single orogenic phase, the Scandian, at around 425 Ma, which represents the continent-continent collision of Laurentia and Baltica. The Lower Paleozoic stratigraphy can be closely correlated with the palinspastically contiguous terranes of NE Spitsbergen, Bjørnøya, and NW Scotland, and, farther to the south, that of western Newfoundland. In Greenland itself, Lower Paleozoic sediments are present in the foreland, parautochthon, and the highest allochthonous sheet of the orogen, the Franz Joseph allochthon. In the Franklinian Basin of eastern North Greenland, unconformity-bounded Lower Cambrian sediments can be correlated with the Sauk I sequence of cratonic North America. These Cambrian sediments are separated from younger units by a significant hiatus, the sub–Wandel Valley unconformity, but above that surface, the succession extends without major breaks from the major flooding event at the base of Sauk IV (Early Ordovician) through to the early Wenlock. The carbonate platform in this region foundered from late Llandovery time onward due to loading by thrust sheets, and turbidite deposition replaced platform carbonate deposition. Caledonian thrusts truncate the youngest preserved sediments, which are of early Wenlock age. The punctuated, attenuated stratigraphy seen in Kronprins Christian Land continues southward along the length of the parautochthon, through Lambert Land, Nørreland, and Dronning Louise Land, to a series of tectonic windows in the southern part of the Greenland Caledonides. In contrast to the stratigraphy seen in the parautochthon, the Franz Joseph allochthon contains one of the thickest Cambrian–Middle Ordovician successions in Laurentia, including a complete succession from Sauk I to Tippecanoe II.

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GSA Memoirs

The Greenland Caledonides: Evolution of the Northeast Margin of Laurentia

A.K. Higgins
A.K. Higgins
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Jane A. Gilotti
Jane A. Gilotti
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M. Paul Smith
M. Paul Smith
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Geological Society of America
Volume
202
ISBN print:
9780813712024
Publication date:
January 01, 2008

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