Tectonics: Deformation analysis in the Barents Sea in relation to Paleogene transpression along the Greenland‐Eurasia plate boundary

Sébastien Gac, Alexander Minakov, Grace E. Shephard, Jan Inge Faleide (all UiO) and Sverre Planke (UiO and Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research AS) are the authors of the paper “Deformation analysis in the Barents Sea in relation to Paleogene transpression along the Greenland‐Eurasia plate boundary” accepted for publication in the journal Tectonics. 

Abstract

Late Cretaceous‐Cenozoic contractional structures are widespread in the Barents Sea. While the exact dating of the deformation is unclear, it can only be inferred that the contraction is younger than the early Cretaceous. One likely contractional mechanism is related to Greenland Plate kinematics at Paleogene times. We use a thin sheet finite element modelling approach to compute deformation within the Barents Sea in response to the Greenland‐Eurasia relative motions during the Paleogene. The analytical solution for the 3‐D folding of sediments above basement faults is used to assess possibilities for folding. Two existing Greenland Plate kinematic models, differing slightly in the timing, magnitude and direction of motion, are tested. Results show that the Greenland Plate’s general northward motion promotes growing anticlines in the entire Barents Sea shelf. Our numerical models suggest that the fan‐shaped pattern of cylindrical anticlines in the Barents Sea can be associated with the Eurekan deformation concurrent to the initial rifting and early seafloor spreading in the northeast Atlantic. The main contraction phase in the SW Barents Sea coincides with the timing of continental breakup, whereas the peak of deformation predicted for the NW Barents Sea occurred at later times. Svalbard has experienced a prolonged period of compressional deformation. We conclude that Paleogene Greenland Plate kinematics are a likely candidate to explain contractional structures in the Barents Sea.

Key points

  • We use a thin sheet model of the Norwegian Barents Sea lithosphere to assess folding in response to kinematics of the Greenland Plate in the Paleogene
  • Timing and extent of folding in the Norwegian Barents Sea are correlated with Greenland‐Eurasia plate interactions during the Paleogene
  • The oblique collision of Greenland with Eurasia can explain many Eocene contractional structures in the Norwegian Barents Sea

Reference

Gac, S.; Minakov, A.; Shephard, G.E.; Faleide, J.I.; Planke, S. (accepted): Deformation analysis in the Barents Sea in relation to Paleogene transpression along the Greenland‐Eurasia plate boundary. Tectonics, accepted manuscript online 06 October 2020. DOI: 10.1029/2020TC006172. [intranet]