Abstract

The Sub-Cambrian Peneplain in southern Norway formed in the Cryogenian–early Cambrian. It was transgressed in the Cambrian–early Ordovician, and subsequently broken up by Caledonian thrusting, post-Caledonian normal faulting and regional uplift. In southern Norway the Sub-Cambrian Peneplain is generally expressed as an angular unconformity or nonconformity surface with no apparent deep weathering. In some localities the basement is characterized by a weathered top. Furthermore, the basement may have a mineralized top in some cases. The peneplain is commonly overlain by in situ regolith, and/or Cryogenian glacial diamictite, Lower–Middle Cambrian siliciclastic sediments, Lower–Upper Cambrian black shale or Lower Ordovician limestone. It has commonly mildly tectonized contacts, but occasionally displays contacts that have been completely destroyed by Caledonian thrusting and reworked into fault rocks. Tracing the peneplain across southern Norway reveals a fault-affected and fault-delineated plateau with a sloping eastern margin. Onshore cumulative offsets record vertical movements of > 2000 m. A 1–5° dip below Caledonian nappes suggests a flexural component related to tectonic overburden. As the oldest identifiable and dateable surface covering much of Scandinavia the peneplain constitutes the reference surface for studies of the younger regional morphotectonic evolution. Its shape supports the interpretation that Cenozoic uplift combined with faulting, not smooth flexural doming, caused the Southern Scandes high in South Norway.

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