Scientific network to decipher crustal evolution of the Arctic

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Abstract

The tectonic evolution of the regions in and around the Arctic remains highly debated due to a lack of geologic knowledge, the region's geologic complexities, and the logistical difficulties of working at extreme latitudes. For example, the northward continuation of Paleozoic (∼545-to 250-million-year-old) mountain belts is predicted yet unrecognized, and the tectonic development of the Canada Basin—which defines the nature of the crust in and around the Arctic—is still debated, partly because few research projects are regional in scope or link the submarine and subaerial environments. This has led some to speculate, for example, that oceanic crust underlies the entire Amerasian Basin, whereas others indicate a much more limited extent within the Canada Basin. A contributing factor in the development of such conflicting hypotheses is the traditional segregation of land-and marine-based researchers: Over the past several decades, Arctic campaigns have conducted marine, aerogeophysical, and geological investigations [e.g., Lawver et al., 2010], but few of these have integrated onshore and offshore environments. To address this shortcoming, a new multinational, multidisciplinary science network called the Circum-Arctic Lithosphere Evolution (CALE) project seeks to integrate onshore geology with offshore geophysics in the Earth's northernmost regions.

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