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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

CSPG Special Publications


Proceedings of the Symposium on the Geology of the Canadian Arctic, 1973
Pages 5-22

Global Tectonics and the Canadian Arctic Continental Shelf

Richard St. John Lambert


The Canadian Arctic continental shelf forms the major part of a 4100 km linear structure extending from Norway to Yukon. The eastern part was formed when the Nansen ridge split the Barents shelf some 40 m.y. ago. The remainder, from Yukon to north of Ellesmere has had a more complicated history. It is argued that the edge of the shelf is controlled by a fossil transcurrent fault feature which originated during an episode of rapid east-west plate movement in Devonian time. A spreading ridge (the Alpha ridge) developed roughly perpendicularly to the fault during the Carboniferous, creating what is now the Canada abyssal plain, and initiating rifting to form the Sverdrup Basin. The present shelf edge developed as a wall of a fracture zone and/or transcurrent fault zone, minor movements continuing until well into the Mesozoic. Ancillary conclusions arising from this model for evolution of the Canadian Arctic are a clockwise rotation of Alaska to its present position and a probable pre-Mesozoic origin for Baffin Bay.

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