The spatial relation between the Jan Mayen Fracture Zone system and two occurrences of early Tertiary, mantle-derived volcanic rock complexes indicates that an older, continental fault system may have had hidden extensions in the deep lithosphere. This is taken as indirect evidence that the inferred fracture- zone precursor may have acted as a transfer-fault system, linking rifts formed by opposing, simple-shear detachment faulting through the lithosphere. We infer that this contributed to continental rifting between Greenland and Norway in Mesozoic to Paleocene time, before sea-floor spreading began in the Norwegian- Greenland Sea region.

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