The post-Caledonian development of Svalbard and the western Barents Sea
AbstractThe Barents Shelf, stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the coasts of northern Norway and Russia, and from the Norwegian–Greenland Sea to Novaya Zemlya, covers two major geological provinces. This review concentrates on the western province, with its complex mosaic of basins and platforms. A growing net of coverage by seismic data, almost 70 deep hydrocarbon exploration wells and a series of shallow coring programmes, have contributed greatly to our understanding of this province, supplementing information from neighbouring land areas. The late Paleozoic to present-day development of the region can be described in terms of five major depositional phases. These partly reflect the continuing northwards movement of this segment of the Eurasian plate from the equatorial zone in the mid-Devonian–early Carboniferous up to its present-day High Arctic latitudes, resulting in significant climatic changes through time. Important controls on sedimentation have involved varying tectonic processes along the eastern, northern and western margins of the shelf, whereas short- and long-term local and regional sea-level variations have further determined the depositional history of the province.
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