University of Oulu

Adrian M. Hall, Niko Putkinen, Satu Hietala, Elina Lindsberg, Marko Holma, Ultra-slow cratonic denudation in Finland since 1.5 Ga indicated by tiered unconformities and impact structures, Precambrian Research, 2020, 106000, ISSN 0301-9268,

Ultra-slow cratonic denudation in Finland since 1.5 Ga indicated by tiered unconformities and impact structures

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Author: Hall, Adrian M.1; Putkinen, Niko2; Hietala, Satu3,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
2Geological Survey of Finland, P.O. Box 97, FI-67101 Kokkola, Finland
3Department of Geology, University of Tartu, Ravila 14A, 50411 Tartu, Estonia
4Geological Survey of Finland, P.O. Box 1237, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland
5Muon Solutions Oy, Rakkarinne 9, FI-96900 Saarenkylä, Finland
6Kerttu Saalasti Institute, University of Oulu, Pajatie 5, 85500 Nivala, Finland
7Arctic Planetary Science Institute, Lihtaajantie 1 E 27, 44150 Äänekoski, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 8.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-11-26


The Earth’s cratons are traditionally regarded as tectonically stable cores that were episodically buried by thin sedimentary covers. Cratonic crust in southern Finland holds seven post-1.7 Ga tiered unconformities, with remnants of former sedimentary covers. We use the geometries of the tiered unconformities, along with previously dated impact structures and kimberlite and carbonatite pipes, to reconstruct the erosion and burial history of the craton and to derive estimates of depths of erosion in basement and former sedimentary rocks. The close vertical spacing (<200 m) of the unconformities and the survival of small (D ≤ 5 km) Neoproterozoic and Early Palaeozoic impact structures indicate minor later erosion. Average erosion rates (<2.5 m/Ma) in basement and cover are amongst the lowest reported on Earth. Ultra-slow erosion has allowed the persistence in basement fractures of Phanerozoic fracture coatings and Palaeogene groundwater and microbiomes. Maximum thicknesses of foreland basin sediments in Finland during the Sveconorwegian and Caledonide orogenies are estimated as ~1.0 km and <0.68–1.0 km, respectively. Estimated losses of sedimentary cover derived from apatite fission track thermochronology are higher by factors of at least 2 to 4. A dynamic epeirogenic history of the craton in Finland, with kilometre-scale burial and exhumation, proposed in recent thermochronological models is not supported by other geological proxies. Ultra-slow erosion rates in southern Finland reflect long term tectonic stability and burial of the craton surface for a total of ~1.0 Ga beneath generally thin sedimentary cover.

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Series: Precambrian research
ISSN: 0301-9268
ISSN-E: 1872-7433
ISSN-L: 0301-9268
DOI: 10.1016/j.precamres.2020.106000
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (