Upper Permian Zechstein Supergroup carbonate-evaporite platform palaeomorphology in the UK Southern North Sea

Ross J. Grant, John R. Underhill, Jaume Hernández-Casado, Steven M. Barker, Rachel J. Jamieson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Seismic interpretation, geological mapping and depth conversion of the Zechstein Supergroup (Z2 cycle), using high-quality well-calibrated three-dimensional (3-D) seismic, has revealed the complex palaeomorphology of a deeply-buried ancient carbonate shelf-margin on the southwestern margin of the Southern Permian Basin. The new mapping shows that the margin comprises a series of corrugated embayments and promontories which extend up to 5 km (3 mi) into the basin and locally have a palaeobathymetric relief of >200 m (650 ft). Well calibration across the margin demonstrates a strongly bipartite lateral thickness distribution between a high velocity anhydrite-dominated shelf and a lower velocity halite-dominated basin. Strong lateral and vertical velocity variations in the Upper Permian Zechstein Supergroup are known to have major impacts upon seismic imaging and depth conversion in the SPB. The resulting uncertainty remains one of the major challenges when interpreting and assessing the prospectivity of the underlying Upper Permian, Rotliegend Group (Leman Sandstone Formation) reservoirs in the UK Southern North Sea. An understanding of the Zechstein shelf edge's 3-D physiography and its velocity variation has implications for the delineation of traps containing the prospective reservoirs that lie below. Recognition of the complexity and effects of this shelf-margin contributed to the recent Juliet Discovery whose position outside of the presently defined Rotliegend Group play fairway suggests that prospectivity is more extensive along the basin margin than previously thought. As such, the work provides a means by which to identify and delineate new structures and extend the life of this mature yet prolific gas province.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-518
Number of pages35
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Early online date10 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Depth conversion
  • Palaeomorphology
  • Platform
  • Shelf-margin
  • Southern North Sea
  • Southern Permian Basin
  • Submarine slump
  • Velocity modelling
  • Zechstein Supergroup

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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