Late Cenozoic environmental changes along the Norwegian margin

Andrew M.W. Newton*, Mads Huuse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Our ability to understand the rates and consequences of contemporary climate change is limited by the insufficient duration of instrumental records. Thus, we are not able to fully understand the processes that provide a fundamental control in driving climate changes across different timescales. Palaeo-climate archives, like those preserved offshore Norway, provide our only real window through which to observe long-term rates and styles of climate change. This paper reviews the extensive geological and geophysical data available from the late Cenozoic Atlantic margin of Norway. Along the margin, periods of erosion and deposition have been controlled by agents including fluvial, glacial, and oceanographic processes. Current-controlled sedimentation along the margin provides insight into the connection of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from the Miocene onward. Plio-Pleistocene shelf edge progradation of up to 150 km can be linked to the grounding of ice sheets on the continental shelf through observations of buried grounding-zone wedges and mega-scale glacial lineations. The margin is also important for understanding the ability of glaciation to cause topographic relief changes and generate offshore geohazards such as the Storegga Slide, which mobilised some ~ 3000 km3 of sediments during the Holocene. Whilst the processes operating along the Norwegian margin are well-understood through the late Cenozoic, there is little geochronological control with which to constrain the environmental changes that have been observed. Concomitant with the wealth of knowledge and the extensive data that are currently available, we propose that the Norwegian margin is an ideal location to be considered for future ocean drilling. The observations of multiple processes, acting independently and together, means ocean drilling could yield information of global significance due to the bridging location of Norway's Atlantic margin between the Arctic and lower latitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-244
Number of pages29
JournalMarine Geology
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate
  • Contourites
  • Geomorphology
  • Glacial history
  • Glaciation
  • Late Cenozoic
  • Naust Formation
  • Neogene
  • North Atlantic Current
  • Norwegian margin
  • Oceanography
  • Plio-Pleistocene
  • Stratigraphy
  • Submarine landslides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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