Response of a low-subsiding intracratonic basin to long wavelength deformations: the Palaeocene–early Eocene period in the Paris Basin
Abstract. The uppermost Cretaceous to early Palaeogene is a period of major deformations of the western part of the Eurasian plate with prominent basin inversions starting from the Coniacian onwards. These deformations occur in a complex geodynamic setting within both the context of the Africa–Eurasia convergence and the North Atlantic opening. While Mesozoic graben inversions have been extensively studied, particularly in Eastern Europe and the North Sea, more gentle deformations that affect thicker crust areas (intracratonic basins and emerged lands) are not as well documented.
The objective of this study is to constrain the exact timing, type, and magnitude of the early Palaeogene deformations affecting the intracratonic Paris Basin and to integrate them at the western European scale. Low-amplitude deformations are attempted through a high-resolution reconstitution of its stratigraphic record based on well-dated outcrops and well-dated wells, and a high number of well-logs that are correlated using the “stacking pattern” sequence stratigraphic technique.
Two orders of sequences are identified (third and fourth order) and correlated throughout the basin. Basin geometric and palaeogeographic reconstitutions are based on sediment thickness and facies analysis. Two-dimensional accommodation space measurements were taken in order to quantify the magnitude of the deformations.
Three phases of deformation were recognized.
1. An intra-Maastrichtian–pre-Thanetian (59 Ma) deformation, with major uplift and erosion of the Cretaceous strata with two sub-periods of deformation: Maastrichtian–pre-middle-Danian and Upper Danian–pre-Thanetian long-wavelength deformations. This period of major deformation is coeval with Upper Cretaceous/pre-Danian compressive deformations linked to the Africa–Eurasia convergence in southern France and with volcanic activity from the North Atlantic to Massif Central and the Rhenish Shield during the Palaeocene.
2. An early Ypresian (55.1–54.3 Ma) medium-wavelength deformation ( × 10 km), here reported to be a stress rearrangement related to the onset of the North Atlantic opening.
3. An uppermost Ypresian (49.8 Ma) long-wavelength deformation ( × 100 km), contemporaneous with flexural compressive deformations in the Aquitaine Basin (Pyrenean deformation), and related to the Iberia–Eurasia convergence.