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Characterising the internal structural complexity of the Southern North Sea Zechstein Supergroup Evaporites

Lookup NU author(s): Hector Barnett, Dr Mark IrelandORCiD, Dr Cees van der Land



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Basin Research published by International Association of Sedimentologists and European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.The internal structure and architecture of evaporite sequences is often overlooked, with attention frequently concentrating on the external geometries that salt bodies form. The availability of extensive 3D seismic data affords the opportunity to interpret the internal structures within these evaporite sequences and comprehensively characterise the different structural facies over large areas. This paper concentrates on the Zechstein Supergroup evaporite deposits within the Southern North Sea of the United Kingdom's Continental Shelf. This analysis of the internal structural complexity and stratigraphic heterogeneity utilises 26,000 km2 of 3D seismic data together with over 96 wells from the Southern North Sea. Characterisation of the different structural facies present was undertaken alongside mapping their spatial distribution to understand the relationship they have with one another and the structural evolution that may have been taken. This work has (1) characterised and mapped six different internal structural facies present within the Zechstein with increasing levels of deformation; (2) shown the internal lithological heterogeneity is indicative of variations in the vertical strength profile of layered evaporite sequences; (3) discontinuous high-amplitude reflections within the Zechstein are as a result of the geometries being too steeply dipping for the seismic data to image; and (4) the ability to possibly predict the internal heterogeneity of areas of poorly imaged salt, such as within large diapiric salt structures, from surrounding structural facies. These findings suggest that there is significant internal complexity even within areas of the basin with minor mobilisation to the external salt geometry.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barnett HG, Ireland MT, Van der Land C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Basin Research

Year: 2023

Volume: 35

Issue: 5

Pages: 1651-1673

Print publication date: 01/12/2023

Online publication date: 05/04/2023

Acceptance date: 29/03/2023

Date deposited: 15/05/2023

ISSN (print): 0950-091X

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2117

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1111/bre.12768


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