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Circum-Arctic Lithosphere Evolution

Pease circum-Arctic lithospheric evolutionThe Special Publication Circum-Arctic Lithosphere Evolution delivers the state-of-the-art for circum-Arctic tectonics and lithosphere evolution. This publication is the place to understand the evolution of the lithosphere north of 66°N; it is the result of the Circum-Arctic Lithosphere Evolution (CALE) project.

Introducing the Arctic Ocean basins, we learn that the Ameriasia and Eurasia basins underly its frozen waters. It is in the description of these basins that we appreciate the relative sparsity of knowledge, irrespective of the recent focus on energy reserves and political demarcation, with regards to the morphology and thickness of sediments.

This volume summarizes the findings of the CALE project, with the aim of bringing together the onshore and offshore geology to better understand the lithospheric evolution of the region and, more specifically, to develop a self-consistent set of constraints for the opening of the Amerasia Basin. These findings are presented in a geographic structure taking the reader around the Arctic by region (including Greenland & Arctic Canada, Alaska & Chukotka, the Laptev Sea, Siberia, Barents & Kara Sea) and finishing on the larger scale with pan-Arctic themes and further research ideas.

These individual papers synthesise both published and new data that make a significant contribution to the regional geology of the Arctic. Interestingly, onshore studies of Arctic islands, including Wrangel and New Siberian Islands, has shed light on the relationship between the lithospheric history of the area.

This publication contributes to the dating of the Lomonosov ridge—that unmistakable ridge visible on a bathymetric map of the Arctic Ocean, north of Greenland. It is discussed how the Lomonosov ridge is a slice of continental crust dividing the Eurasia and Ameriasia plates, where a sample-gathering expedition took place to analyse the sediments found therein. The analysis and their implications are discussed and indicate that the ridge was part of a major Mid-Ordovician orogenic event whilst forming part of the Caledonian belt. This paper provides a significant leap forward in the understanding of the tectonic evolution of the Arctic Ocean.

The papers in this Special Publication are the forefront in our knowledge of Arctic tectonics and lithospheric evolution. The lithospheric structure and surface geology in most areas of the Arctic remain poorly defined and are therefore open for significant debate and plenty of exploratory science. The results of this project are necessary to complete our understanding of global tectonics by developing a consistent set of constraints on the opening of the Ameriasia basin.

Reviewed by Simon Kettle

CIRCUM-ARCTIC LITHOSPHERE EVOLUTION, by V. Pease & B. Coakley (eds) 2018. Published by The Geological Society of London, SP 460, 476 pp. (hbk.) ISBN: 9781786203236 List Price: £ 110.00 Fellow's Price: £ 55.00 W: www.geolsoc.org.uk/SP460