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The Faroe-Shetland Basin: a regional perspective from the Palaeocene to the present day and its relationship to the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean

Ellis, David; Stoker, Martyn S.. 2014 The Faroe-Shetland Basin: a regional perspective from the Palaeocene to the present day and its relationship to the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean. In: Cannon, S.J.C.; Ellis, D., (eds.) Hydrocarbon exploration to exploitation west of Shetlands. London, UK, Geological Society of London, 11-31. (Geological Society London Special Publications, 397, 397).

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Abstract/Summary

The Faroe-Shetland Basin is located offshore NW Scotland on the SE margin of the Atlantic Ocean and comprises numerous sub-basins and intra-basin highs that are host to a number of significant hydrocarbon discoveries. The principal hydrocarbon discoveries are in Palaeocene–Eocene strata, though earlier ones are known, and therefore their existence is intimately linked to the opening and evolution of the North Atlantic from 54 Ma. The final rifting and separation of Greenland from Eurasia is commonly attributed to the arrival of a mantle plume which impacted beneath Greenland in the early Tertiary. Moreover, the ensuing plate separation is commonly described in terms of instantaneous unzipping of the North Atlantic, whereas in reality proto-plate boundaries were more diffuse during their inception, and the linked rift system, including connections with the Arctic, which we see today was not established until late Palaeogene–early Neogene time. From a regional analysis of ocean basin development, including the stratigraphic record on the adjacent continental margins, the significance of the Greenland–Iceland–Faroe Ridge, and the age and role of Iceland, we propose a dual rift model whereby North Atlantic breakup was only partial until the Oligo-Miocene, with true final breakup only being achieved when the Reykjanes and Kolbeinsey ridges became linked. As final breakup coincides with the appearance of Iceland, this model negates the need for a plume to develop the North Atlantic with rifting reliant on purely plate tectonic mechanisms, lithospheric thinning and variable decompressive upper mantle melt along the rifts.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1144/SP397.1
ISSN: 0305-8719
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 06 Mar 2014 16:10 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/503195

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