Morphology, sedimentary infill and depositional environments of the Early Quaternary North Sea Basin (56°–62°N)
Marine and Petroleum Geology
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Ottesen, D., Dowdeswell, J., & Bugge, T. (2014). Morphology, sedimentary infill and depositional environments of the Early Quaternary North Sea Basin (56°–62°N). Marine and Petroleum Geology, 56 123-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2014.04.007
The North Sea Basin has been subsiding during the Quaternary and contains hundreds of metres of fill. Seismic surveys (170 000 km2) provide new evidence on Early Quaternary sedimentation, from about 2.75 Ma to around the Brunhes-Matuyama boundary (0.78 Ma). We present an informal seismic stratigraphy for the Early Quaternary of the North Sea, and calculate sediment volumes for major units. Early Quaternary sediment thickness is > 1000 m in the northern basin and >700 m in the central basin (total about 40 000 km3). Northern North Sea basin-fill comprises several clinoform units, prograding westward over 60 000 km2. Architecture of the central basin also comprises clinoforms, building from the southeast. To the west, an acoustically layered and mounded unit (Unit Z) was deposited. Remaining accommodation space was filled with fine-grained sediments of two Central Basin units. Above these units, an Upper Regional Unconformity-equivalent (URU) records a conformable surface with flat-lying units that indicate stronger direct glacial influence than on the sediments below. On the North Sea Plateau north of 59°N, the Upper Regional Unconformity (URU) is defined by a shift from westward to eastward dipping seismic reflectors, recording a major change in sedimentation, with the Shetland Platform becoming a significant source. A model of Early Quaternary sediment delivery to the North Sea shows sources from the Scandinavian ice sheet and major European rivers. Clinoforms prograding west in the northern North Sea Basin, representing glacigenic debris flows, indicate an ice sheet on the western Scandinavian margin. In the central basin, sediments are generally fine-grained, suggesting a distal fluvial or glacifluvial origin from European rivers. Ploughmarks also demonstrate that icebergs, derived from an ice sheet to the north, drifted into the central North Sea Basin. By contrast, sediments and glacial landforms above the URU provide evidence for the later presence of a grounded ice sheet.
We thank Det norske oljeselskap for financial support and permission to publish this work. We also thank Petroleum Geoservices and TGS for permission to publish seismic lines and seismic amplitude maps and Exploro AS for their support of the project.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2014.04.007
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/247027
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/uk/
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