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Mesozoic and Tertiary Paleoenvironments of the Labrador Shelf, Offshore Eastern Canada
Measozoic and Tertiary deposits on the Labrador Shelf of Eastern Canada rest unconformably on Precambrian metamorphic rocks, and also on some erosional remnants of Paleozoic carbonates. The earliest known Mesozoic deposits are Neocomian to Aptian in age, during which time almost all deposition was nonmarine, and involved fluvio-deltaic sedimentation and basalt extrusion within rift grabens.
Albian to Santonian marine incursion resulted in shallow marine deposition within structurally controlled embayments. Grabens were inundated; horsts became peninsulas and islands. These events were followed in Campanian time by seafloor spreading and subsidence, culminating in a maximum marine onlap in Paleocene time, coincident with the final separation of Greenland from Baffin Island.
Late Paleocene to Pliocene sedimentation consisted of an initial phase involving bathyal turbidite deposition, followed by the progradation of shelf and marginal marine deltaic deposits as the present-day shelf configuration was established.
Sedimentation in Pleistocene to Recent time has been directly related to glaciation. Shelf deposits consist of tills, boulder moraines and ice-rafted debris.
It is apparent from this study, and others, that the paleoenvironmental interpretations summarized here are compatible with the Labrador Sea opening in Campanian time in the south and in Paleocene time in the north. Local crustal adjustments, however, varied regionally, creating a spectrum of depositional settings. Presently available data are sufficient to outline successive paleogeographic configurations, but not to document them in great detail.
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