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The Atlantic Ocean margins formed the basis for the seminal Wilson cycle concept, which suggests that oceans close, form fold belts, and later reopen in a concertina-like fashion. However, we observe that continental break-up of the North Atlantic–Arctic region only weakly reflects Wilson's concept. Rather than utilizing fold belts, transforms have been the dominant weaknesses that guided break-up, primarily because less force is required to break a plate via strike-slip related shearing than via rifting. Some transforms were inherited features, whereas others formed as part of the continental break-up process. Regardless of cause, once a transform has formed, the...

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