Chalk thickness trends and the role of tectonic processes in the Upper Cretaceous of southern England

Newell, Andrew J.; Woods, Mark A.; Farrant, Andrew R.; Smith, Helen; Haslam, Richard B.. 2018 Chalk thickness trends and the role of tectonic processes in the Upper Cretaceous of southern England. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 129 (5). 610-628.

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A series of six thickness maps created at a formation scale for the Chalk of the Southern and Transitional Chalk provinces of SE England reinforce the difficulty in determining the controls on Chalk deposition. However, at the broad scale, they do appear to show that thickness patterns in the Cenomanian to Turonian chalks of the West Melbury Marly Chalk, the Zig Zag Chalk and the Holywell Nodular Chalk show correspondence with the underlying Mesozoic extensional basin structure. The major exception to this is the south Dorset area which was uplifted in the Early Cretaceous as an eastern extension to the Cornubian Ridge. The younger New Pit Chalk and Lewes Nodular Chalk show a switch toward thicker successions on the London Platform and thinner, more uniform successions across the Mesozoic basins to the south. This change may indicate some initial basin inversion starting in the mid Turonian which caused a shift in the main locus of Chalk deposition toward East Anglia. The work potentially suggests multiple control-modes shaping the geometry of Chalk deposits, involving an interplay of: 1) long-lived basin-defining faults and structural blocks acting to shape large-scale thickness trends through differential compaction and interaction with relative sea level change; 2) smaller scale structures that may function to more effectively dissipate stress created by intra-Cretaceous tectonic events, producing more localised/sub-regional thickness and facies variations; 3) early basin inversion reflecting the broader basin-scale response to intra-Cretaceous tectonics, potentially responsible for regional shifts in patterns of sedimentation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00167878
Date made live: 03 Jan 2019 16:05 +0 (UTC)

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