Abstract

Radiometric ages for undated parts of the volcanic succession and intrusions in West Greenland were obtained by the 40Ar–39Ar incremental heating method. Acceptable crystallization ages were obtained for 27 samples. Combined with published results the new data provide a volcanic stratigraphy correlatable throughout the Nuussuaq Basin. The thick onshore volcanic pile consists of four widespread formations: 62.5–61 Ma picrites (Vaigat Formation), 61–60 Ma depleted basalts (Maligât Formation and the Hellefisk-1 well), 60–58 Ma less-depleted basalts (Svartenhuk Formation) and 56–54 Ma enriched basalts (Naqerloq Formation). Two local successions comprise 53.5 Ma alkali basalts (Erqua Formation) and 38.7 Ma transitional basalts (Talerua Member). A central volcano developed on Ubekendt Ejland, leading to the Sarqâta qáqâ gabbro-granophyre intrusion at 57–55 Ma. Pre-break-up volcanism took place further south as early as 64–63 Ma. The offshore volcanic succession most probably comprises the known onshore succession plus some younger lavas. The change in spreading direction near the Paleocene–Eocene boundary took place west of the Nuussuaq Basin c. 56.2 Ma. Some tectonomagmatic events are correlatable across the entire North Atlantic Igneous Province. A quiescent 58–56 Ma period correlates with similar periods in East Greenland and the Faroes, and the Naqerloq Formation is coeval with the Eocene basalts in East Greenland. The Paleocene and Eocene tholeiitic basalts are distinguishable chemically; in early Eocene time, mantle typical of the Iceland plume seems to have extended beneath the whole West Greenland margin as well as the central East Greenland margin.

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