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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-27
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-27
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 10 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 10 Mar 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal SE and is expected to appear here in due course.

Pre-inversion normal fault geometry controls inversion style and magnitude, Farsund Basin, offshore southern Norway

Thomas Brian Phillips1, Christopher A.-L. Jackson2, and James R. Norcliffe2 Thomas Brian Phillips et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Science Labs, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK
  • 2Basins Research Group (BRG), Imperial College, London, SW7 2BP, UK

Abstract. Inversion may localise along pre-existing structures within the lithosphere, far from the plate boundaries along which the causal stress is greatest. Inversion style and magnitude is expressed in different ways, depending on the geometric and mechanical properties of the pre-existing structure. A three-dimensional approach is thus required to understand how inversion may be partitioned and expressed along structures in space and time. We here examine how inversion is expressed along the northern margin of the Farsund Basin during Late Cretaceous inversion and Neogene uplift. At the largest scale, strain localises along the lithosphere-scale Sorgenfrei-Tornquist Zone; this is expressed in the upper crust as hangingwall folding, reverse reactivation of the basin-bounding normal fault, and bulk regional uplift. The geometry of the northern margin of the basin varies along-strike, with a normal fault system passing eastward into an unfaulted ramp. Late Cretaceous compressive stresses, originating from the Alpine Orogeny to the south, selectively reactivated geometrically simple, planar sections of the fault, producing hangingwall anticlines and causing long-wavelength folding of the basin fill. The amplitude of these anticlines decreases upwards due to tightening of pre-existing fault propagation folds at greater depths. In contrast, Neogene shortening is accommodated by long-wavelength folding and regional uplift of the entire basin. Subcrop mapping below a major, Neogene uplift-related unconformity and bore-based compaction analysis show that uplift increases to the north and east, with the Sorgenfrei-Tornquist Zone representing a hingeline to inversion rather than a focal point, as was the case during the Late Cretaceous. We show how compressional stresses may be accommodated by different inversion mechanisms within structurally complex settings. Furthermore, the prior history of a structure may also influence the mechanism and structural style of inversion that it experiences.

Thomas Brian Phillips et al.

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Thomas Brian Phillips et al.

Thomas Brian Phillips et al.

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Latest update: 11 Jul 2020
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Short summary
Normal faults often reactivate under compression, in a process called inversion. The 3D geometry of these structures, and the effect on resultant inversion structural style, is often not considered. Using seismic reflection data we examine how stresses form different inversion styles that are controlled by the geometry of the pre-existing structure. Geometrically simple faults are preferentially reactivated, with more complex areas typically not reactivated and instead experience bulk uplift.
Normal faults often reactivate under compression, in a process called inversion. The 3D geometry...
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