The change in crustal type at the western Barents Sea/Svalbard margin takes place over a narrow zone related to primary rift and shear structures reflecting the stepwise opening of the Greenland Sea. Regionally, the margin is composed of two large shear zones and a central rifted-margin segment. Local transtension and transpression at the plate boundary caused the early Cenozoic tectonism in Svalbard and the western Barents Sea, and might explain the prominent marginal gravity and velocity anomalies.

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