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TitleWidespread volcanism in the Greenland-north Atlantic region explained by the Iceland Plume
AuthorSteinberger, B; Bredow, E; Lebedev, S; Schaeffer, AORCID logo; Torsvik, T H
SourceNature Geoscience vol. 12, 2018 p. 61-68, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20190344
PublisherSpringer Nature
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
ProvinceNunavut; Northern offshore region
AreaAtlantic Ocean; Davis Strait; Labrador Sea; Greenland; Denmark; Iceland; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Ireland; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Norway
Lat/Long WENS -65.0000 15.0000 78.0000 51.0000
Subjectstectonics; geophysics; geochronology; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; Paleogene; tectonic history; volcanism; mid-ocean ridges; sea floor spreading; rifting; intrusions; sills; lava flows; faulting; plate motions; mantle; lithosphere; crustal thickness; geophysical surveys; seismic surveys; seismic velocities; gravity interpretations; geodynamics; models; radiometric dating; argon argon dating; potassium argon dating; uranium lead dating; paleogeography; North Atlantic Igneous Province; Iceland Plume; Reykjanes Ridge; Kolbeinsey Ridge; Mohns Ridge; Aegir Ridge; Greenland-Iceland-Faroe Ridge Complex; High Arctic Large Igneous Province; Iceland-Greenland Ridge; Jan Mayen Microcontinent; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Tertiary; Mesozoic; Cretaceous
Illustrationsgeoscientific sketch maps; histograms; 3-D models; models
ProgramPublic Safety Geoscience Assessing Earthquake Geohazards
Released2018 11 12
AbstractIn the classical concept, a hotspot track is a line of volcanics formed as a plate moves over a stationary mantle plume. Defying this concept, intraplate volcanism in Greenland and the North Atlantic region occurred simultaneously over a wide area, particularly around 60 million years ago, showing no resemblance to a hotspot track. Here, we show that most of this volcanism can nonetheless be explained solely by the Iceland plume interacting with seafloor spreading ridges, global mantle flow and a lithosphere (the outermost rigid layer of the Earth) with strongly variable thickness. An east-west corridor of thinned lithosphere across central Greenland, as inferred from new, highly resolved tomographic images, could have formed as Greenland moved westward over the Iceland plume between 90 and 60 million years ago. Our numerical geodynamic model demonstrates how plume material may have accumulated in this corridor and in areas east and west of Greenland. Simultaneous plume-related volcanic activities starting about 62 million years ago on either side of Greenland could occur where and when the lithosphere was thin enough due to continental rifting and seafloor spreading, possibly long after the plume reached the base of the lithosphere.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Volcanism is typically located in regions located close to plate boundaries where the erupted magmas are generated at great depth through the release of fluids produced through various dehydration reactions in the subducting plate. Intraplate volcanism, that is volcanoes that are not within several hundred kilometers of active plate boundaries, as more enigmatic in terms of their source of volcanism, due to the obvious lack of fluids or extra heat. One source of such volcanoes are mantle plumes, which are localized conduits of upward flow driven by deep-seated sources of heat, in many cases thought to be the core mantle boundary. As these features are disconnected from the Earth's surface, it is much more difficult to see them at depth. However, the surface expression of their transit is well recorded in terms of volcanic chains. In this paper, we examine the cryptic nature of volcanism across Greenland, which appears to be simultaneously erupting on both sides of the Greenland continent roughly 62 million years ago, which is spread out over a region much larger than expected. The results demonstrate that the passage of a hotspot over a thick craton can impart an affect on the location of volcanism, and actually split the flow of high temperature material and deflect it laterally over great distances. This result has impacts in interpreting the older expression of the same Iceland hotspot at older ages as it traversed across the northeastern Canadian Arctic, potentially altering the lithospheric mantle.

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