The Opening of the North Atlantic

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The North Atlantic Ocean is a late product of the disintegration of Laurasia, a part of Pangaea, which split to form North America, Greenland, Europe and Asia. Before considering the birth and growth of the North Atlantic, a brief résumé concerning plate tectonics is in order. As a result of processes in the Earth's core, the magnetic field spontaneously reverses at irregular intervals averaging at 500 000 years. The most voluminous magmatic events during the Earth's history have been related in space and time to an impact at the base of the lithosphere by such a plume head. Evidence of continental uplift preceding the magmatism is plausibly attributed to the arrival of the buoyant and abnormally hot mantle plume. A prolonged period of global warming commencing at 55Ma is attributed to the effects of the proto-Iceland plume. In the aftermath of the ocean opening there was notable uplift of the adjacent ‘trailing’ continental margins.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiogeography in the Sub-Arctic: The Past and Future of North Atlantic Biotas
EditorsEva Panagiotakopulu, Jon P. Sadler
ISBN (Electronic)9781118561461
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-56147-8
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2021


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