Abstract

In conventional plate-tectonic models, an independent Greenland plate is supposed to have drifted in the Paleogene along a transform fault through Nares Strait that links the two branches of the North Atlantic spreading system. However, this postulated structure — widely known as the Wegener Fault — cannot be detected by any means in the southern part of the strait. The mapped geology flanking this part of the strait is identical, with no evidence whatsoever of any strike-slip displacement or compressional deformation, and geophysical data provide no support for the existence of such tectonism offshore. We analyse the serious drawback of having a major transform located within a Precambrian crustal block stable since the Paleozoic and emphasize that the extinct Labrador – Baffin Bay spreading axis is but a mirror image of the active North Atlantic – Gakkel Ridge that terminates in a continental cul-de-sac in the Laptev Sea. We conclude that, in the Baffin Bay – Nares Strait region, there is only one plate (North American) and that the extension required to absorb Labrador – Baffin Bay spreading is to be found in structures within the Canadian Arctic Islands.

You do not currently have access to this article.