Mesozoic orogenic belts fringe the Alaska and eastern Russia portion of the Arctic Basin. From west to east, these include the fold belts of Novaya Zemlya, Taimyr Peninsula, northern Verkhoyansk–Kolyma, Chukotka and the Brooks Range, as well as their continuations onto the continental shelves. The Taimyr and Novaya Zemlya structures were traditionally interpreted as the continuation of the late Palaeozoic Uralian orogenic belt. This is probably correct for Taimyr, but not for Novaya Zemlya, where shortening post-dates Uralian deformation. The Mesozoic tectonic evolution of the Verkhoyansk–Kolyma, Chukotka and Brooks Range orogens relates to the accretion of numerous continental and arc terranes to the Siberian and North American margins starting in the Late Jurassic and driven by palaeo-Pacific dynamics. This history is complicated by the opening of the Amerasia Basin of the Arctic, which displaced the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka microplate from a position adjacent to Arctic Canada towards the palaeo-Pacific. Although the Chukotka fold belt and the Brooks Range both formed along the southern edge of Arctic Alaska–Chukotka, most shortening took place prior to Amerasia Basin opening. The remoteness of this region and the complexity of its geology has left numerous questions regarding its tectonic evolution unresolved, providing rich avenues for future research.
- Received March 30, 2015.
- Revision received January 7, 2016.
- Accepted January 23, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)