A sub-crustal piercing point for North Atlantic reconstructions and tectonic implications

Christian Schiffer*, Randell Stephenson, Kenni D. Petersen, Soren B. Nielsen, Bo H. Jacobsen, Niels Balling, David I. M. Macdonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Plate tectonic reconstructions are usually constrained by the correlation of lineaments of surface geology and crustal structures. This procedure is, however, largely dependent on and complicated by assumptions on crustal structure and thinning and the identification of the continent-ocean transition. We identify two geophysically and geometrically similar upper mantle structures in the North Atlantic and suggest that these represent remnants of the same Caledonian collision event. The identification of this structural lineament provides a sub-crustal piercing point and hence a novel opportunity to tie plate tectonic reconstructions. Further, this structure coincides with the location of some major tectonic events of the North Atlantic post-orogenic evolution such as the occurrence of the Iceland Melt Anomaly and the separation of the Jan Mayen microcontinent. We suggest that this inherited orogenic structure played a major role in the control of North Atlantic tectonic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1087-1090
Number of pages4
Issue number12
Early online date6 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • teleseismic receiver functions
  • deep seismic-reflection
  • mantle fault zones
  • continental lithosphere
  • subduction zones
  • East Greenland
  • British-Isles
  • Caledonides
  • Scotland
  • extension


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