Balancing sub- and supra-salt strain in salt-influenced rifts: Implications for extension estimates

Alexander Coleman, Christopher Jackson, Oliver Duffy

Research output: Working paperPreprint

Abstract

The structural style of salt-influenced rifts may differ from those formed in predominantly brittle crust. Salt can decouple sub- and supra-salt strain, causing sub-salt faults to be geometrically decoupled from, but kinematically coupled to and responsible for, supra-salt forced folding. Salt-influenced rifts thus contain more folds than their brittle counterparts, an observation often ignored in extension estimates. Fundamental to determining whether sub- and supra-salt structures are kinematically coherent, and the relative contributions of thin- (i.e. gravity-driven) and thick-skinned (i.e. whole-plate stretching) deformation to accommodating rift-related strain, is our ability to measure extension at both structural levels. We here use published physical models of salt-influenced extension to show that line-length estimates yield more accurate values of sub- and supra-salt extension compared to fault-heave, before applying these methods to seismic data from the Halten Terrace, offshore Norway. We show that, given the abundance of ductile deformation in salt-influenced rifts, significant amounts of extension may be ignored, leading to the erroneous interpretations of thin-skinned, gravity-gliding. If a system is kinematically coherent, supra-salt structures can help predict the occurrence and kinematics of sub-salt faults that may be poorly imaged and otherwise poorly constrained.
Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2017

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