Pre-existing intra-basement shear zones influence growth and geometry of non-colinear normal faults, western Utsira High–Heimdal Terrace, North Sea

Edoseghe E. Osagiede, Atle Rotevatn, Rob Gawthorpe, Thomas B. Kristensen, Christopher A.L. Jackson, Nicola Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pre-existing intra-basement shear zones can induce mechanical and rheological heterogeneities that may influence rifting and the overall geometry of rift-related normal faults. However, the extent to which physical and kinematic interaction between pre-existing shear zones and younger rift faults control the growth of normal faults is less-well understood. Using 3D reflection seismic data from the northern North Sea and quantitative fault analysis, we constrain the 3D relationship between pre-existing basement shear zones, and the geometry, evolution, and synrift depositional architecture of subsequent rift-related normal faults. We identify NE-SW- and N-S-striking rift faults that define a coeval Middle Jurassic – Early Cretaceous, non-colinear fault network. NE-SW-striking faults are parallel to underlying intra-basement shear zone. The faults either tip-out above or physically merge with the underlying shear zone. For faults that merges with the basement shear zone, a change from tabular to wedge-shaped geometry of the hangingwall synrift strata records a transition from non-rotational to rotational extension faulting, which we attribute to the time of rift fault's linkage with the shear zone, following downward propagation of its lower tip. N-S-striking faults are oblique to, and offset (rather than link with) intra-basement shear zones. These observations highlight the selective influence pre-existing intra-basement shear zones may (or may not) have on evolving rift-related normal faults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103908
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Volume130
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Inherited structures
  • Non-colinear faults
  • Rift basins
  • Stress perturbation
  • Utsira High

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