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Two first-order depositional provinces are distinguished — a southeastern shelf, which encompasses nearly all of the Arctic Platform and a large part of the Franklinian mobile belt, and a northwestern deep water basin. The latter, in turn, is divisible into a southeastern sedimentary subprovince, and a northwestern sedimentary and volcanic subprovince. The unstable boundary between deep water basin and shelf migrated cratonward from late Early Cambrian to Early Devonian time.

In the preceding chapter, the Cambrian to Silurian depositional history of North Greenland has been divided into seven evolutionary phases that are applicable to both shelf and deep water basin as they are based, to some extent, on shifts of their mutual boundary. This organization was feasible because in Greenland only northern parts of the shelf province, which have been affected markedly by the cratonward expansion of the basin, are exposed.

Separate schemes for shelf and basin, however, are required in the Arctic Islands where both provinces are more extensive and more complex stratigraphically. It is most convenient to discuss the stratigraphy of Franklinian Shelf and Arctic Platform in terms of informal time-rock slices, and that of the deep water basin in terms of unrelated, variably diachronous, informal rock units. The basic differences in the stratigraphic record of the two provinces reflects the fact that different geological processes are important in them. Eustatic fluctuations in sea level, for example, affect primarily the shelf; tectonic events in “outboard” orogenic belts affect primarily the basin.

The different classifications chosen in Chapters 7

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