A lineament pattern on the NE Atlantic margin is discussed, illustrated by gravity and magnetic images in the Norwegian Sea, and reviewed in the context of onshore field evidence. While most possible fault trends exist, three major sets predominate. A NE-SW left-stepping lineament set defines the gross geometry of the margin, while interposing northerly trends impose a rhomboidal geometry at a variety of scales. The margin is segmented by NW-SE transfer zones, sometimes involving significant offsets. The principal trends are primarily a function of Mesozoic-Cenozoic plate-wide extensional stress fields. Certain Proterozoic and Caledonian lineaments were, however, opportunistically reactivated according to the extension direction. Caledonian NE-SW orogen-oblique shears, typified by the Møre-Trøndelag Fault Zone, were reactivated via (?Jurassic) strike-slip or oblique-slip, and were further exploited during Cretaceous-early Cenozoic extensional episodes leading to continental break-up. Jurassic E-W extension may also have reactivated N-S faults existing in the basement or generated in duplex systems between the NE-SW shears. Precambrian and Caledonian basement lineaments striking at a low angle to the extension direction probably predisposed the formation of major transfer zones.

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