Rifting mechanism and breakup along the NE Atlantic: insights from basin modelling across the Lofoten and the NE Greenland conjugate margins


The mechanisms of rifting and subsequent formation of passive margin are generally attributed to stretching and thinning of the continental lithosphere. In this context, we propose to study the rifting history of the NE Atlantic with a focus on the Lofoten and NE Greenland asymmetric conjugate margins where the breakup was characterized by less magma activity than on the margin segments to the south.

Aim of the study

The amount and distribution of thinning across the conjugate margins will be quantified through tectonic and thermal modelling (with the TecMod2D software). The results will be discussed in the context of conceptual models for rifting and continental breakup (pure shear, simple shear, symmetry and asymmetry).

The aim of the study is also to better constrain the thermal evolution of the sedimentary basins and to quantify the effects of the breakup magmatism.

Data and methods

To answer these questions we will perform a basin modelling exercise on the chosen conjugate transects. A-A’ transect (Figure 1) will be the main transect to work on. Additional profile B-B’ could also be considered.


Data include available seismic reflection and refraction data as well as potential field data.               


The stratigraphy and the crustal structure of the conjugate profiles will be constrained using the available seismic reflection and refraction data and compared/completed with results from inverse gravity modelling.

The TecMod2D basin modelling software will be used to estimate the thinning distribution and to quantify the thermal evolution of the sedimentary basins along with the conjugate profiles.

The 2D MOVE software will be used for structural restoration focusing on the role of major extensional faults.

Learning outcomes

  • Factors controlling the structure and evolution passive margin.
  • Basin modelling.
Image may contain: Map, Text, Line, Ecoregion, Parallel.
Figure 1. Reconstruction of the NE Atlantic margins at 52 Ma. The A-A’ and B-B’ conjugate transects along the Lofoten and NE Greenland margins are indicated. COB: Continent-Ocean Boundary.
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Published Sep. 17, 2020 5:30 PM - Last modified Sep. 17, 2020 5:30 PM