Over eighty years at the core of petrological research: The Skaergaard intrusion

The history of research, its environment and annotated bibliography

By Kent Brooks

The Skaergaard intrusion, Kangerlussuaq, East Greenland is one of the most famous geological localities in the world, certainly the most thoroughly researched igneous intrusion. Since The memoir of Wager and Deer in 1939 it has played a key role in petrological thinking, being a type example of the closed system differentiation of a ferro-basaltic magma. Skaergaard’s di­fferentiation trend has also figured prominently in the so-called “granite controversy” as to how granites arise as it thought to refute the idea that granites are di­fferentiation products of basaltic magmas (but see a reversal to this idea by Hunter and Sparks, 1987, who claimed that Skaergaard had indeed produced copius quantites of granitc material).

The author
Geologist Kent Brooks first visited Skaergaard in 1966 and was captivated by the area and its geology. Throughout about 30 summers in East Greenland, Kent Brooks has always had a keen interest in the Skaergaard intrusion and is gratified to observe that research on this unique body is continuing unabated at the time of going to press. Maybe we will soon start to understand how magmas behave in the Earth’s crust!


  1. Introduction
  2. History and exploration
  3. Trends in Skaergaard research
  4. The environment of Skaergaard
  5. The place names of Kangerlussuaq
  6. Criteria used in the selection of publications
  7. Annotated bibliography