Numerical modelling of the Wilson Cycle

The Wilson Cycle describes the closing and opening of an ocean along the same plate boundary (J.T. Wilson, 1966, Did the Atlantic close and then re-open? Nature 211, 676-681). For example, the Iapetus Ocean between the Norwegian margin of Baltica and the Greenland margin of Laurentia closed by subduction and collision around 425 million years ago. This led to the formation of the Caledonide mountains and the high-pressure rocks now exposed in western Norway. Extension caused break-up of the new continent and the formation of the North Atlantic Ocean from around 54 million years ago. In this project we investigate the dynamics of the different stages of a Wilson Cycle: closure of an ocean by subduction, the end of convergence by continental collision, and subsequent rifting.

The project is financed by the Norwegian Research Council (project 180449/V30) and the Geological Survey of Norway.

Project participants:

GEO 2007 article (in Norwegian)