Special Publication 14/2014: Palynology and geology of the Triassic succession of Svalbard and the Barents Sea
Svalbard has been a key area for the study of Arctic Triassic successions for over a hundred years. Triassic rocks outcrop over large areas of the archipelago and the last three decades of offshore exploration have shown that they are also widespread in the subsurface of the Barents Shelf. The impressive, almost flat-lying sequences of central Spitsbergen drew early attention because of their rich fossil content, and the eastern islands of Barentsøya, Edgeøya and Hopen consist almost exclusively of Triassic outcrops. Along the western fold belt of Spitsbergen the succession is strongly folded and exposures show the spectacular interaction of competent sandstones with intensely deformed shales. The relatively easy accessibility of these high-latitude areas, especially in the summer months, when fjords and coasts are essentially ice free, made them a target for exploration already in the late 19th century. Rich fossil faunas of ammonoids, bivalves and vertebrates (fish, amphibians, ichthyosaurs, and plesiosaurs) have attracted the attention of many palaeontologists and stratigraphers over the years and the archipelago’s scientifically and politically open status has resulted in work by a cosmopolitan community of investigators.
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