Tertiary inversion in the Faroe-Shetland Channel and the development of major erosional scarps
John R. Smallwood, 2004. "Tertiary inversion in the Faroe-Shetland Channel and the development of major erosional scarps", 3D Seismic Technology: Application to the Exploration of Sedimentary Basins, Richard J. Davies, Joseph A. Cartwright, Simon A. Stewart, Mark Lappin, John R. Underhill
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At the shallowest point of the Faroe-Shetland Channel, between the Faroe Islands and the Shetland Isles, the sea bed is deformed into a series of major scarps and hollows. The cuspate scarps, or ‘Judd Falls’, are up to 15 km in length and are over 200 m high. Interpretation of 3D seismic data and high resolution 2D seismic data shows that the scarps are part of a larger series of structures that are partly buried. A second series of buried asymmetric hollows has been mapped 50 km to the northwest. Both sets of hollows are interpreted to have a deep-water erosional origin, postulated to be associated with the initiation of the high-energy bottom currents of the south-flowing Northern Component Water from the Norwegian-Greenland Sea into the North Atlantic. Present-day measurements presented here show that deep-water current velocity can peak at over 0.8ms−1. Both erosional complexes are positioned directly above Tertiary inversion structures, and this study has identified two periods of compressional deformation, latest Ypresian and late Lutetian, in addition to previously documented phases. Compression in the area has been linked to changes in the interaction between the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Iceland mantle plume. Enhanced plume activity also concentrated deep-water flow in the Faroe-Shetland Channel by physically impeding deep-water currents elsewhere. Where enhanced deep-water flow encountered the partial barriers of the inversion structures, accelerated turbulent erosional currents carved the scarps into the sea bed.