Timing, controls and consequences of compression in the Rockall-Faroe area of the NE Atlantic Margin

A Tuitt, John R Underhill, J D Ritchie, H Johnson, Ken Hitchen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    The simplest models of passive margins would suggest that they are characterized by tectonic quiescence as they experienced gentle thermal subsidence following the extensional events that originally formed them. Analysis of newly acquired and pre-existing 2D seismic data from the Rockall Plateau to the Faroe Shelf, however, has confirmed that the NE Atlantic Margin was the site of significant active deformation. Seismic data have revealed the presence of numerous compression-related Cenozoic folds, such as the Hatton Bank, Alpin, Ymir Ridge and Wyville-Thomson Ridge Anticlines. The distribution, timing of formation and nature of these structures have provided new insights into the controls and effects of contractional deformation in the region. Growth of these compressional features occurred in five main phases: Thanetian, late Ypresian, late Lutetian, Late Eocene (C30) and Early Oligocene. Compression has been linked to hotspot-influenced ridge push, far-field Alpine and Pyrenean compression, asthenospheric upwelling and associated depth-dependent stretching. Regional studies make it clear that compression can have a profound effect on seabed bathymetry and consequent bottom-water current activity. Bottom-water currents have directly formed the early Late Oligocene, late Early Miocene (C20), Late Miocene-Early Pliocene, and late Early Pliocene (C10) unconformities. The present-day Norwegian Sea Overflow (NSO) from the Faroe-Shetland Channel into the Rockall Trough is restricted by the Wyville- Ymir Ridge Complex, and takes place via the syncline (Auohumla Basin) between the two ridges. The Auohumla Basin Syncline is now thought to have controlled the path of the NSO into the Rockall Trough and the resulting unconformity formation and sedimentation therein, no later than the Mid Miocene. © Petroleum Geology Conferences Ltd. Published by the Geological Society, London.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPetroleum Geology
    Subtitle of host publicationFrom Mature Basins to New Frontiers - Proceedings of the 7th Petroleum Geology Conference
    EditorsB A Vining, S C Pickering
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

    Publication series

    NamePetroleum Geology Conference Proceedings
    PublisherGeological Society
    ISSN (Electronic)2047-9921


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