Correlating deformation events onshore and offshore in superimposed rift basins: The Lossiemouth Fault Zone, Inner Moray Firth Basin, Scotland

Alexandra Tamas, Robert E. Holdsworth, John R. Underhill, Dan M. Tamas, Edward D. Dempsey, Dave J. McCarthy, Ken J. W. McCaffrey, David Selby

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Abstract

The separation and characterisation of different deformation events in superimposed basins can be challenging due to the effects of overprinting and/or fault reactivation, combined with a lack of detailed geological or geophysical data. This paper shows how an onshore study can be enhanced using a targeted interpretation of contiguous structures offshore imaged by seismic reflection data. Two deformation events, including evidence of fault reactivation, are recognised and associated with the onshore part of the Lossiemouth Fault Zone (LFZ), southern-central Inner Moray Firth Basin. The basin is thought to record a history of Permian to Cenozoic deformation, but it is difficult to conclusively define the age of faulting and fault reactivation. However, structures in onshore outcrops of Permo–Triassic strata show no evidence of fault growth, and new interpretation of seismic reflection profiles in the offshore area reveals that Permo–Triassic fills are widely characterised by subsidence and passive infill of post-Variscan palaeotopography. We propose that sequences of reactivated faulting observed onshore and offshore can be correlated and can be shown in the latter domain to be Early Jurassic–Late Cretaceous, followed by localised Cenozoic reactivation. The workflow used here can be applied to characterise deformation events in other superimposed rift basins with contiguous onshore (surface)—offshore (subsurface) expressions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBasin Research
Early online date18 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • fault reactivation
  • Inner Moray Firth Basin
  • North Sea
  • superimposed deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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