Letter | Published:

Geological evidence in favour of a Jotunheimen Caledonian suture

Naturevolume 277pages289291 (1979) | Download Citation

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Abstract

EARLY plate-tectonic reconstructions of the proto-Atlantic by Wilson1 and Dewey2 placed a Caledonian suture through central, southern Norway. Later, more detailed interpretations generally favoured a single (proto-Atlantic, Iapetus) suture off the west coast3–14, in agreement with the pre-plate-tectonic orthodoxy15–18 of a western, eugeosynclinal source for the fartravelled (up to 1,000 km) (ref. 13), crystalline and supracrustal nappes of Norway and Sweden. In South Norway, however, not all interpretations fitted this pattern. Goldschmidt21 and Oftedahl22 proposed a local root zone in the Jotunheim for the crystalline Jotun Nappe south-east of its present northwesterly margin. More recently Battey and McRitchie23,24 demonstrated a close fit between surface geology and the interpretations of gravity data by Smithson et al.25 of the Jotun Nappe as an ‘Ivrea type’ flake with a local root possibly as deep as 16 km. Note that recent43 aeromagnetic results suggest a maximum thickness of only 5 km for the Jotun Nappe). Evidence from the northwestern margin of the Jotunheim is clearly critical, for the southeastward transport of the Jotun Nappe deduced from areas to the south-east14,18 is consistent with derivation from both the Iapetus suture and a possible Jotunheim suture. Some reports, however, apparently support the Jotunheim suture hypothesis. Between Fjaerlandsfjorden and Sogndalsdalen, Skjerli26 found imbricated thrust slices of Basal gneisses and supracrustal rocks indicating transport to the north-west. A similar conclusion was reached by Battey and McRitchie23 for Bøverdalen. Also, Elliott and Cowan27 describe a sequence of tholeiitic greenstones with pillows and serpentinites from Holleindalen in Bøverdalen. Most recently, however, Roberts42 has concluded, using structural evidence from seven traverses across the northwestern margin, that the Jotun Nappe was transported to the south-east. The work described here does not support this conclusion.

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  1. Department of Geology, Regent's Park, London, NW1, UK

    • P. H. BANHAM
    • , A. D. GIBBS
    •  & F. W. M. HOPPER

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https://doi.org/10.1038/277289a0

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