Stratigraphy of the uppermost Old Red Sandstone of Svalbard (Mimerdalen Subgroup)

  • Karsten Piepjohn Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources
  • Winfried K. Dallmann Norwegian Polar Institute
Keywords: Svalbard, geology, stratigraphy, Mimerdalen Subgroup, Devonian, Old Red


Between the fjords Dicksonfjorden and Billefjorden in central Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s youngest deposits (Early Givetian to Famennian in age) of the Old Red Sandstone—the Mimerdalen Subgroup—are exposed. They form a narrow outcrop area parallel to the Billefjorden Fault Zone and overlie unconformably the multicoloured sandstones of the Lower Devonian Wood Bay Formation. Stratigraphic rank and subdivision of the succession were changed repeatedly since its first mention in 1910. Based on student work in 1996, as well as regional mapping by the authors in 1993 and 2003, the present work formalizes the stratigraphic framework of the succession. This framework has already been applied in recent geological maps. At the same time it is a continuation of the lithostratigraphic standardization carried out by the Committee on the Stratigraphy of Svalbard (1999), where only post-Devonian rocks were considered. Except for some small-pebble conglomerate layers in the Wood Bay Formation, the upper part of the Mimerdalen Subgroup contains the first coarse-grained deposits in Svalbard’s Old Red since the lowermost Devonian Red Bay Group. Faulting between its formations as well as conglomerate pebbles derived from the Lower Devonian Wood Bay Formation indicate the onset of the Svalbardian Event after the tectonic stability during the deposition of the Wood Bay Formation. The Mimerdalen Subgroup is probably the detrital fill of a small foreland basin derived from erosion during the uplift of the Ny-Friesland Block to the east of the Billefjorden Fault Zone. It was later affected by compressional tectonic movements during the Svalbardian Event.

Keywords: Svalbard; geology; stratigraphy; Mimerdalen Subgroup; Devonian; Old Red.

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(Published: 30 October 2014)

Citation: Polar Research 2014, 33, 19998,


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Author Biographies

Karsten Piepjohn, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources
Division of Polar Geology, senior geologist
Winfried K. Dallmann, Norwegian Polar Institute
Geological mapping programme Svalbard, project leader, senior geologist
How to Cite
Piepjohn, K., & Dallmann, W. K. (2014). Stratigraphy of the uppermost Old Red Sandstone of Svalbard (Mimerdalen Subgroup). Polar Research, 33.
Research/review articles