Evolution of migrating transform faults in anisotropic oceanic crust: Examples from iceland

Jeffrey A. Karson, Bryndís Brandsdóttir, Páll Einarsson, Kristján Sæmundsson, James A. Farrell, Andrew J. Horst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Major transform fault zones link extensional segments of the North American – Eurasian plate boundary as it transects the Iceland Hotspot. Changes in plate boundary geometry, involving ridge jumps, rift propagation, and related transform fault zone migration, have occurred as the boundary has moved relative to the hotspot. Reconfiguration of transform fault zones occurred at about 6 Ma in northern Iceland and began about 3 Ma in southern Iceland. These systems show a range of different types of transform fault zones, ranging from diffuse, oblique rift zones to narrower, well-defined, transform faults oriented parallel to current plate motions. Crustal deformation structures correlate with the inferred duration and magnitude of strike-slip displacements. Collectively, the different expressions of transform zones may represent different stages of development in an evolutionary sequence that may be relevant for understanding the tectonic history of plate boundaries in Iceland as well as the structure of transform fault zones on more typical parts of the mid-ocean ridge system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1297-1308
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2019


  • Iceland
  • Rift propagation
  • Transform fault zone
  • Transform migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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