ABSTRACT

An extensive seismic database covering an area of 100,000 km2 (38,610 mi2) and 16 wells are integrated to define a sequence-stratigraphic framework for the Lower Cretaceous succession in the southwestern Barents Sea. Seven sequences (S0–S6) are defined, and the geometry, trajectory, and lateral variability of decompacted seismic clinoforms are described to elucidate the depositional history of the basin and to better understand coarse-grained sediment transport from the shelf to basin. Three different clinoform scales are recognized: (1) clinoform sets with 35–60 m (115–197 ft) height, interpreted as deltaic or shoreline clinoforms; (2) clinoform sets with 60–110 m (197–361 ft) height, interpreted as sediments prograding on a continental shelf; and (3) clinoforms with greater than 150 m (>492 ft) height, which represent shelf-margin clinoforms. Furthermore, clinoforms are grouped into two main progradation directions: (1) clinoforms prograded to the southeast in sequences 2–3, in the Fingerdjupet Subbasin and the western Bjarmeland platform, indicating a source of sediments located in the west-northwestern Barents Sea, and (2) clinoforms prograded to the southwest in sequences 1–6, in the eastern part of the Bjarmeland platform, Nordkapp Basin, and Finnmark platform, indicating a second source of sediments located in the east-northeast. Additionally, in the Hammerfest Basin, clinoforms prograded to the southeast off the Loppa high in sequences 5–6. Low-relief (35–60 m [115–197 ft]), high-gradient, and oblique clinoforms are observed within sequence 2 in the western Bjarmeland platform. The high-gradient foresets are interpreted as potential coarse-grained deposits or as a result of clinoforms prograding to progressive deeper waters, resulting in steeper foresets. Clinoforms located in the eastern part of the study area are interpreted as sourced by a mud-rich system, reflecting a long transportation distance. However, thin, heterolithic patterns in the gamma-ray log possibly reflect thin, sheetlike sands. The height of the clinoforms seems to be a factor controlling the sediment bypass to deep water in the study area. When the height is more than 200 m (656 ft), bottomset deposits are common. This study contributes to a better understanding of the paleogeography and the evolution of the frontier southwestern Barents Sea during the Early Cretaceous and to comprehending the variables increasing the bypass of coarse-grained sediments to deep-water settings.

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