New insights into the structure and evolution of the Isle of Wight monocline

Evans, D.J.; Kirby, G.A.; Hulbert, A.G.. 2011 New insights into the structure and evolution of the Isle of Wight monocline. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 122 (5). 764-780.

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High quality seismic reflection data acquired during hydrocarbon exploration activities provide evidence for the subsurface structure and evolution of one of England's most well known structures at outcrop: the Isle of Wight Monocline. It is generally seen as a major northerly verging monoclinal structure linked to the Purbeck Monocline to the west. The Isle of Wight Monocline is the result of the interplay between two inverted east–west trending, southerly dipping and overlapping down-to-the-south major syndepositional normal faults that were active during Triassic and Jurassic times: the Needles and Sandown faults. The area between the two faults tips forms an easterly-dipping relay ramp, down which sequences of all ages thicken. Both of these major normal faults were inverted during Cenozoic (Miocene: Alpine) compressional events, folding the overlying post-rift sequences of early Cretaceous to early Cenozoic (Palaeogene) age. Interpretation of the seismic reflection data suggest that previously unknown high angle, down-to-the-north reverse faults cut the northern limbs of both anticlines forming the composite monocline and are likely to come to crop in the steeply-dipping Chalk and/or the drift-covered Cenozoic sequences. Their identification marked a period of discussions and testing of the model by detailed field mapping. The existence and location of such faulting was proved through an iterative process with the result that a reverse fault zone is now mapped along the northern limb of the northern Sandown Anticline section of the Monocline. The main reverse faults on the Brighstone and Sandown anticlines result in up to circa 550 m of displacement at top Chalk level. It is thought that a series of smaller footwall short-cut faults affect the Cenozoic strata to the north of the main reverse fault, producing up-faulted sections of flatter-lying Cenozoic strata. Reverse displacements and the severity of folding on the inverted faults decreases on each fault segment in a complementary fashion in the area of the relay ramp as one fault takes up the movement at the expense of the other. The swing in strike of the Chalk in the area of shallowly dipping strata between Calbourne and Garstons is a result of deformation of the post-rift sequences across the relay ramp established between the overlapping fault tips of the Needles and Sandown faults and the interaction of the folds developed at the tips of the reverse faults.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Energy Science
ISSN: 0016-7878
Date made live: 01 Dec 2011 16:42 +0 (UTC)

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