The origin and age of topography along the west Greenland margin is a matter of continued debate. Evidence for tectonically driven Neogene uplift has been argued from interpretations of offshore seismic surveys, onshore fission-track data and inferred episodes of cooling. Here, analysis of seismic reflection profiles and 1D modelling of exploration wells along the Greenland margin of Davis Strait demonstrate that the data are consistent with a model of ancient continental topography affected by late Cretaceous–early Palaeocene rifting followed by thermal subsidence where offshore Neogene tectonic uplift is not required. This interpretation for the offshore evolution of the west Greenland margin has implications for the adjacent onshore evolution and for other continental margins developed throughout the Atlantic–Arctic rift system.

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