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Главная GEODYNAMIC FORMATIONS OF THE ARCTIC OCEAN: MESOZOIC AND CENOZOIC
GEODYNAMIC FORMATIONS OF THE ARCTIC OCEAN: MESOZOIC AND CENOZOIC Печать E-mail

SHIPILOV E.V.
ММBI Kola SC RAS, Russia

Chronological succession in the formation of spreading basins is considered in the context of reconstruction of breakdown of Wegener’s Pangea and the development of the geodynamic system of the Arctic Ocean. This study made it possible to indentify three temporally and spatially isolated generations of spreading basins: Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous, Late Cretaceous–Early Cenozoic, and Cenozoic. The first generation is determined by the formation, evolution, and extinction of the spreading center in the Canada Basin as a tectonic element of the Amerasia Basin. The second generation is connected to the development of the Labrador–Baffin–Makarov spreading branch that ceased to function in the Eocene. The third generation pertains to the formation of the spreading system of interrelated ultraslow Mohna, Knipovich, and Gakkel mid-ocean ridges that has functioned until now in the Norwegian–Greenland and Eurasia basins.

The interpretation of the available geological and geophysical data shows that after the formation of the Canada Basin, the Arctic region escaped the geodynamic influence of the Paleopacific, characterized by spreading, subduction, formation of backarc basins, collision-related processes, etc. The origination of the Makarov Basin marks the onset of the oceanic regime characteristic of the North Atlantic (intercontinental rifting, slow and ultraslow spreading, separation of continental blocks (microcontinents), extinction of spreading centers of primary basins, spreading jumps, formation of young spreading ridges and centers, etc., are typical) along with retention of northward propagation of spreading systems both from the Pacific and Atlantic sides.

The aforesaid indicates that the Arctic Ocean is in fact a hybrid basin or, in other words, a composite heterogeneous ocean in respect to its architectonics. The Arctic Ocean was formed as a result of spatial juxtaposition of two geodynamic systems different in age and geodynamic style: the Paleopacific system of the Canada Basin that finished its evolution in the Late Cretaceous and the North Atlantic system of the Makarov and Eurasia basins that came to take the place of the Paleopacific system.

In contrast to traditional views, it has been suggested that asymmetry of the northern Norwegian–Greenland Basin is explained by two-stage development of this Atlantic segment with formation of primary and secondary spreading centers. The secondary spreading center of the Knipovich Ridge started to evolve approximately at the Oligocene–Miocene transition. This process resulted in the breaking off of the Hovgard continental block from the Barents Sea margin.

Thus, the breakdown of Wegener’s Pangea and its Laurasian fragments with the formation of young spreading basins was a staged process that developed nearly from opposite sides.

Before the Late Cretaceous (the first stage), the Pangea broke down from the side of Paleopacific to form the Canada Basin, an element of the Amerasia Basin (first phase of ocean formation).

Since the Late Cretaceous, destructive pulses came from the side of the North Atlantic and resulted in the separation of Greenland from North America and the development of the Labrador–Baffin–Makarov spreading system (second phase of ocean formation). The Cenozoic was marked by the development of the second spreading branch and the formation of the Norwegian–Greenland and Eurasia oceanic basins (third phase of ocean formation). Spreading centers of this branch are functioning currently but at an extremely low rate.

OIL AND GAS OF ARCTIC SHELF 2008

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