North Atlantic Ocean basin; Aspects of geologic structure and evolution
In creating Volume M, the Western North Atlantic region (Vogt and Tucholke, 1986a) for the Geology of North America series, we deemed it best from both oceanographic and plate-tectonic viewpoints to deal with the entire North Atlantic spreading system from the equator to the Arctic (Figs. 1 and 2), rather than limiting treatment to the western half of the ocean basin. Even so, the scope in some places had to be expanded. The Atlantic, like other ocean basins, did not evolve in isolation from global changes in tectonic regime, oceanic circulation, or climate patterns (Fig. 3). The development of plate-tectonic theory since the late 1960s clearly has emphasized the importance of these large-scale linkages.
The present chapter continues this philosophy, summarizing the geology of the North Atlantic but noting linkages to areas outside this ocean basin. The synthesis is based largely on material presented in Volume M. The citation or lack of citation of Volume Μ references here, however, reflects only the thematic fabric of the present synthesis, not the scientific merit of the chapters. We refer the reader to original sources in Volume Μ for more complete treatment. We begin this chapter by noting ties between Volume Μ and several other Geology of North America volumes, and we continue with some “vital statistics” that describe three basic components of the Atlantic in space and time: igneous crust, sediments, and ocean waters. This is followed by a discussion of scales of spatial and temporal variability, with emphasis on the latter. The chapter concludes with a summary of some of the important advances that have occurred in the three years since Volume Μ was published.
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The Geology of North America—An Overview
Summaries of the major features of the geology of North America and the adjacent oceanic regions are presented. Twenty chapters include concise reviews of current thinking about Precambrian basement, Phanerozoic orogens, cratonic basins, passive-margin geology of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions, marine and terrestrial geology of the Caribbean region, marine geology of the North Atlantic and northeast Pacific oceans, Quaternary geology, hydrogeology, and economic geology. An excellent text for a graduate course or upper-level undergraduate course in regional geology. Includes tables of contents for the other volumes in this series. Extended selected references also available.