Printed: June 2008, 1 English edition, number printed 4000
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The book is a translation of the Danish original "Grønlands geologiske udvikling - fra urtid til nutid" published in 2005 and reprinted in 2006 (ISBN 87-7871-163-0)
Greenland has a land area of over 2 million km2, 81% of which is covered by a central ice cap - the Inland Ice. The surrounding ice-free marginal zone is sparsely populated and is characterised by a mountainous arctic landscape. Ice-scoured outcrops are spectacularly exposed along steep fjord walls carved by glaciers draining the Inland Ice. This makes Greenland ideal for geological studies, because the rocks, the structures that deform them and the details of the development of the rock complexes with time can be read like an open book.
The geological development of Greenland spans almost four billion years. The central basement shield is composed of gneiss complexes and belts of metamorphosed sedimentary and volcanic rocks that came into existence during mountain-building episodes 3800-1600 million years ago. Around the margins of this basement shield, thick sedimentary deposits accumulated in extensive basins. Two coast-parallel younger mountain chains formed in North-East and North Greenland about 430-350 million years ago. Major volcanic successions, related to the plate-tectonic opening of the North Atlantic Ocean 60-55 million years ago, were erupted in both East and West Greenland. The Ice Age that began about 2 million years ago is represented by widespread glacial deposits, erosional features and the present-day Inland Ice.
The book summarises the results of more than 60 years of geological investigations in Greenland and the surrounding shelf areas. It has been written with a professional background and is presented in a form that is suitable not only for the general, interested reader, but also for students and geologists without a specific knowledge of Greenland geology. It includes explanations of basic geological concepts and processes for the non specialist, and describes the potential for economic resources, both onshore and offshore.
The book has been written by Niels Henriksen, former head of the Department of Geological Mapping at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). For more than 30 years he has led scientific expeditions to all parts of Greenland and has an intimate knowledge of Greenland's geology and nature.
Place name map and Preface
Greenland´s geological evolution
Geology in Greenland
The crystalline basement
The Archaean basementThe Gardar Province
A 1350-1125 Ma old rift valley with sedimentary deposits, basalts and intrusive magmatic rocks
Sedimentary basins - depressions in which mud, sand, gravel and calcareous deposits accumulated
Older continental basins in North and North-West GreenlandFold belts in North and North-East Greenland
Mountain belt formation and structures. Collision between continents
The Caledonian fold belt in North-East GreenlandYounger sedimentary basins
The basins contain flat-lying, unaltered, sedimentary strata
The Devonian basin in North-East GreenlandPalaeogene volcanism
When Greenland and northern Europe drifted apart widespread volcanism occurred in the North Atlantic region
Plateau basalts in the Nuussuaq BasinGeology offshore
Exploration using geophysical methods and drilling
Geology offshore North and East GreenlandThe Ice Age
The patterns of glacial erosion and deposition are imprinted on all the older geological formations
Subsurface mineral occurrences are difficult to find - but they exist. Finding the needle in the haystack
Early mining in GreenlandOil and gas
Carbon and hydrogen from ancient animals and plants form fossil fuels
Hydrocarbon potential of North and East Greenland
Background and acknowledgements
Acronyms - for organisations and projects
WRITTEN ABOUT THE BOOK
"I purchased a copy since I am fascinated by this extraordinary book, one of the best books I have ever seen on geology for a broader (but educated) public. I've seen good geology books, but this one for its concept, contents and utmost readability is outstanding. I found it very well made, very attractive and I will recommend this as essential reading to anyone with an interest in geology or natural sciences. I believe that it beautifully shows many of the aspects of geology. Fantastic landscapes, fantastic geology, fantastic book".
Citation by Dr. Patrice Christmann, Secretary General, EuroGeoSurveys, the Association of the European Geological Surveys.
"This is an imposing book in many ways: a large format, beautifully illustrated and produced volume. It is aimed at a general readership with an interest in earth science and is excellent at explaining in layman´s terms current geological concepts and theories relevant to the geology of Greenland. It is also sufficiently detailed to be of interest to the more knowledgeable reader, and includes references and further information to help those wishing for a deeper and more technical understanding."
"In summary this is an outstanding contribution to the Earth science literature. It is one of the best books available on geology for a broader public, but it will still manage to satisfy the academic or industry-based geologists who wishes for an update on the geology of this perennially fascinating piece of the Earth´s crust. No library should be without a copy".
"This book is to be highly commended and GEUS, as a specialist organization, are to be congratulated in investing in such a worthwhile product aimed at a general audience. In short, this is the sort of book that ignites the interest of us all and will convert the causal browser into an ardent geologist."