Multistage extensional evolution of the central East Greenland Caledonides

Arthur P. White, Kip V. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Recent field investigations in the central East Greenland Caledonides (72°-74°N) resulted in the identification of an orogen-scale extensional fault system called the Fjord Region Detachment (FRD). Previous geochronologic constraints on this deformation indicated that the FRD was active circa 430-425 Ma, a time when the Baltica-Laurentia collision was thought to be occurring, and continued to be active for up to 80 million years. We present new 40Ar/39Ar thermochronologic data from an E-W transect that cuts across two splays of the FRD. Our data demonstrate that at least two distinct episodes of faulting were responsible for extension in the East Greenland Caledonides: an earlier phase (circa 425-423 Ma) that was synorogenic and penetrated to middle-crustal levels, followed by a post-Caledonian phase of reactivation (∼414 to 380 Ma) that affected even deeper structural levels. Furthermore, we present in situ UV laser 40Ar/39Ar data for pseudotachylite collected along the deepest splay of the FRD that indicate this fault was active again as recently as ∼357 Ma (coeval with Devonian basin formation). Altogether, our data suggest that rather than being active continuously for 80 million years, the FRD consisted of multiple splays that were active for shorter intervals over discrete time periods separated by as much as 60 million years. Finally, our data provide evidence that young extensional deformation associated with postorogenic collapse in East Greenland was not restricted to the formation of sedimentary basins in the far eastern part of the orogen, but also resulted in deformation of the Archean-Paleozoic crystalline basement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-1-12-28
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • East Greenland Caledonides
  • Extensional tectonics
  • Synorogenic extension
  • Thermochronology
  • UV laser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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