Our paper “Structural inheritance in the North Atlantic” by Schiffer et al. has now been published in Earth-Science Reviews and can be found here. If you don’t have access please get in touch.
The paper is part of our special issue in Earth-Science Reviews specifically looking at the tectonic evolution of the North Atlantic region. In this particular paper we review the role of structural inheritance in the regional development. We show that, although inheritance is common on multiple scales, the Wilson Cycle is at best an imperfect model for the Circum-North Atlantic region. Observations from the NE Atlantic suggest depth dependency in inheritance (surface, crust, mantle) with selective rejuvenation depending on time-scales, stress field orientations and thermal regime. Specifically, post-Caledonian reactivation to form the North Atlantic rift systems essentially followed pre-existing orogenic crustal structures, while eventual breakup reflected a change in stress field and exploitation of a deeper-seated, lithospheric-scale shear fabrics. We infer that, although collapse of an orogenic belt and eventual transition to a new ocean does occur, it is by no means inevitable.