Cenozoic Evolution of the Southwestern Norwegian ‘Passive’ Margin

Funded by the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Grant #55156-UN18

Dr. McDermott traveled to southwestern Norway in the summer of 2016 (and will return summer of 2017) to examine a sharp increase in relief along the southern coast called ‘The Great Escarpment’.



Norway is a region commonly termed a ‘passive’ margin – a region cut off from active tectonic boundaries – yet the dramatic relief, deep glacial fjords, and rugged peaks are more reminiscent of active boundary zones, a disparity that has made the margin the focus of much research. One possible mechanism proposed to account for this unique morphology is active faulting on extensional faults along the coast; although current data support this model, theycannot disprove other models as well.


Dr. McDermott’s work focuses on examining the geomorphology of the region, and aims to constrain the timing of uplift of the region using low-temperature thermochronology of apatite (U-Th/He) across known fault lines and basin-averaged cosmogenic erosion rates of highly incised fluvial canyons.