Isostatic and dynamic support of high topography on a North Atlantic passive margin

Vivi K. Pedersen, Ritske S. Huismans, Robert Moucha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Substantial controversy surrounds the origin of high topography along passive continental margins. Here we focus on the well-documented elevated passive margin in southwestern Scandinavia, and quantify the relative contributions of crustal isostasy and dynamic topography in controlling the present topography. We find that majority of the topography is compensated by the crustal structure, suggesting a topographic age that is in accord with the 400 Myr old Caledonian orogenesis. In addition, we propose that dynamic uplift of ~300 m has rejuvenated existing topography locally in the coastal region over the last 10 Myr. Such uplift, combined with a general sea level fall, can help explain a variety of observations that have traditionally been interpreted in favor of a peneplain uplift model. We conclude that high topography along the Scandinavian margin cannot represent remnants of a peneplain uplifted within the last 20 Myr. The topography must have been high since the Caledonian orogeny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Jul 15 2016


  • Dynamic topography
  • Isostasy
  • Passive margin topography
  • Scandinavia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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