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The Jan Mayen microplate complex and the Wilson cycle.

Schiffer, C. and Peace, A. and Phethean, J. and Gernigon, L. and McCaffrey, K. and Petersen, K.D. and Foulger, G. (2018) 'The Jan Mayen microplate complex and the Wilson cycle.', in Fifty years of the Wilson cycle concept in plate tectonics. London: Geological Society, pp. 393-414. Geological Society special publications. (470).


The opening of the North Atlantic region was one of the most important geodynamic events that shaped the present day passive margins of Europe, Greenland and North America. Although well-studied, much remains to be understood about the evolution of the North Atlantic, including the role of the Jan Mayen microplate complex. Geophysical data provide an image of the crustal structure of this microplate and enable a detailed reconstruction of the rifting and spreading history. However, the mechanisms that cause the separation of microplates between conjugate margins are still poorly understood. We assemble recent models of rifting and passive margin formation in the North Atlantic and discuss possible scenarios that may have led to the formation of the Jan Mayen microplate complex. This event was probably triggered by regional plate tectonic reorganizations rejuvenating inherited structures. The axis of rifting and continental break-up and the width of the Jan Mayen microplate complex were controlled by old Caledonian fossil subduction/suture zones. Its length is related to east–west-oriented deformation and fracture zones, possibly linked to rheological heterogeneities inherited from the pre-existing Precambrian terrane boundaries.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:In Schiffer, C., Peace, A., Phethean, J., Gernigon, L., McCaffrey, K., Petersen, K.D. & Foulger, G. (2018). The Jan Mayen microplate complex and the Wilson cycle. In Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics. Wilson, R.W., Houseman, G.A., McCaffrey, K.J.W., Dore, A.G. & Buiter, S.J.M. London: Geological Society of London. 470: 393-414 © Geological Society of London 2018.
Date accepted:09 December 2017
Date deposited:02 February 2018
Date of first online publication:01 February 2018
Date first made open access:01 February 2019

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