Pressure-temperature-time evolution of the Central East Greenland Caledonides: Quantitative constraints on crustal thickening and synorogenic extension

A. P. White, K. V. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Whereas geologists have known for three-quarters of a century that there was significant crustal thickening in the central East Greenland Caledonides, the crucial role of extensional faulting during Caledonian orogenesis has only been recognized during the past decade. In this paper, new petrographic and thermobarometric observations are presented from migmatitic metasedimentary gneisses of the Forsblad Fjord region (c. 72.5°N). Samples of the Krummedal Sequence, collected from the footwall of the upper of two significant splays of the main extensional fault system in the region-the Fjord Region Detachment (FRD)-enable us to establish a relative sequence of metamorphism. Our pressure (P)-temperature (T) results imply a clockwise loop in P-T space. As recorded by mineral assemblages in the Krummedal gneisses, prograde metamorphism involved a net increase of c. 4 kbar and 250 °C, with peak conditions of c. 10.5 kbar at 785 °C. Early burial and heating was followed by near-isothermal decompression of 4.5 kbar, a process which is attributed to roughly 18 km of tectonostratigraphic throw on the upper splay of the FRD. Combining data reported here with the published data, it is estimated that the approximate tectonostratigraphic throw along the lower splay of the FRD was c. 16 km. In situ U-Th-Pb-monazite electron microprobe dating suggests that the earliest phase of metamorphism recorded in the Krummedal Sequence gneisses of Forsblad Fjord occurred during the Caledonian orogeny. Furthermore, the combination of our new data with existing conventional TIMS U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar data imply that: (1) movement along the uppermost splay of the FRD (c. 425-423 Ma) occurred at maximum time-averaged slip-rates equivalent to c. 9 mm of vertical displacement per year; and (2) that the final stages of metamorphism occurred prior to c. 411 Ma, although part of this denudation was likely accommodated on overlying extensional structures that may have been active more recently. There is close agreement between our data and results from the Krummedal Sequence north of the field area (72.5°-74°N), and rocks of the Smallefjord Sequence (75°-76°N) that are suggested to correlate with the Krummedal Sequence. This leads us to infer that the events recorded in the Forsblad Fjord region are of orogen-scale significance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-897
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Caledonides
  • Extension
  • P-T
  • Synorogenic
  • Thermobarometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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