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Architecture and controls on Bathonian–Kimmeridgian shallow-marine synrift wedges of the Oseberg–Brage area, northern North SeaNormal access

Authors: R. Ravnås and K. Bondevik
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 9, No 3, September 1997 pp. 197 - 226
Organisations: Wiley
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 4.14Mb )

The Oseberg Fault-Block, situated along the eastern flank of the northern Viking Graben in the North Sea, was affected by Middle–Late Jurassic rifting initiated in Bajocian–Bathonian times. Temporal variations in stretching rates exerted the major control on the depositional infill patterns of the Bathonian–Kimmeridgian Heather Formation and its intercalated Middle Callovian to Early Oxfordian Fensfjord and Late Oxfordian to Kimmeridgian Sognefjord Formations. Three shallow-marine, regressive–transgressive synrift wedges are recognized, and are interpreted in terms of discrete rift phases. The lower, regressive segments of the synrift wedges were deposited during periods of relatively low tectonic activity, whereas the upper, overall transgressive segments correspond to extensional pulses or stages during which significant fault-related subsidence and fault-block rotation occurred. These rotational tilt stages are further subdivided into an early, a climax and a late synrotational substage. The lower, regressive segments consist of stacked, shallowing-upward units, which reflect the advance of wide shallow-marine, rift-marginal shorelines during the tectonically quiescent periods. During the intervening rotational tilt stages renewed basin floor tilting and increased basinal subsidence led to retreat of the rift-marginal depositional systems, renewal of the halfgraben topography, formation of intrabasinal sediment sources (footwall islands) and the re-establishment of localized footwall, hangingwall and axial depositional systems. These localized depositional systems generally have an overall forestepping-to-backstepping character superimposed on the larger-scale transgressive trend. There was an associated shift from a wave and storm-dominated environment during deposition of the lower, regressive segment to a more protected, partly current-(?tidally) influenced environment in the upper, transgressive segment. This reflects a shift from a broad open basin in tectonically quiescent periods to smaller subbasins (embayments or estuaries) during periods with increased rates of rifting. The footwall highs which formed intrabasinal sediment sources were of limited size compared with the volume of the adjacent depositional sinks. As a consequence, complete infilling of individual half-grabens were not achieved during the synrotational stages, leaving the subbasins underfilled at the end of each successive rift phase. Mudstone drapes represent periods with deprivation of clastic material and basinal condensation during the latest synrotational to early tectonic quiescence substages, when footwall islands were small or completely submerged and there was a large distance to the (then progradational) rift-marginal shoreline.

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