Geological structure and history of the Arctic Ocean based on new geophysical data: Implications for paleoenvironment and paleoclimate. Part 2. Mesozoic to Cenozoic geological evolution

By Anatoly M. Nikishin, Eugene I. Petrov, Sierd Cloetingh, Sergey I. Freiman, Nikolay A. Malyshev, Andrey F. Morozov, Henry W. Posamentier, Vladimir E. Verzhbitsky, Nikolay N. Zhukov, Ksenia Startseva


New atlas of paleogeographic/paleotectonic maps for Jurassic-Cenozoic time for the Arctic region

The Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge has a pre-Ordovician continental basement. The ridge is an aborted volcanic passive continental margin

The ~45 Ma event in the Arctic is a unique short-duration event in the history of the Earth: the ultra-slow spreading of the Gakkel Ridge started and approximately synchronously therewith, one major part of the lithospheric plate experienced intraplate compression and transpression, while another part of the lithospheric plate, probably synchronously, experienced intraplate tension and transtension.


We present an atlas of paleogeographic and paleotectonic maps which documents major events in the Arctic for 0–157 Ma. We demonstrate that the Mendeleev Ridge has a continental basement. The following chronology of events in the history of the Arctic Ocean is proposed: (1) Jurassic: continental rifting in the area of the Sverdrup-Banks basins and in the area of the present-day Canada Basin; a system of continental-margin volcanic belts formed in the region of Chukotka and the Verkhoyansk-Omolon; (2) Berriasian-Barremian: formation of the continental-margin Verkhoyansk-Chukotka Orogen; fast opening of Canada Basin (~133–125 Ma); (3) Aptian-Albian: formation of continental igneous provinces, rifting and magmatism in the area of the Alpha-Mendeleev ridges; rifting in the Ust’-Lena, Anisin, North-Chukchi, Podvodnikov and Toll basins; (4) Cenomanian-Campanian: intraplate magmatism in the area of the Alpha-Mendeleev ridges; (5) Campanian-Maastrichtian: a likely start of compressional deformations in the area of the Chukchi Sea; (6) Paleocene: formation of the continental-margin orogen; continental rifting along the present-day Eurasia Basin and the Ust’-Lena Basin; (7) Early-Middle Eocene: onset of opening of the Eurasia Basin started; (8) Middle-Late Eocene: a major restructuring of paleogeography of the Arctic took place at ca. 45 Ma with subaerial emergence of the Barents and Kara Sea shelves and onset of ultra-slow spreading of the Gakkel Ridge, and start of the epoch of formation of normal and strike-slip faults on the Lomonosov and Alpha-Mendeleev ridges and on the shelves of the Chukchi and East Siberian seas. Paleoclimate is discussed in connection with changes in the paleogeography.


Lomonosov Ridge
Amundsen Basin
Nansen Basin
Podvodnikov Basin
North Chukchi Basin
Mendeleev Ridge
Laptev Sea Basin
East Siberian Sea Basin
Gakkel Ridge
Climate change

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