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Abstract

Interaction between uplift related to the Cretaceous-Paleocene opening of the North Atlantic, Neogene shortening (basin inversion) and Pleistocene glacio-isostasy is illustrated by the complex denudation pattern of Britain; such denudation is greatest over the submergent East Irish Sea basin, some 500 km from the Atlantic margin. This paper reports on analysis of sedimentary porosities using sonic velocity logs from 42 wells in the East Irish Sea basin. We present a new map showing the variation in exhumation magnitude at the uppermost Mesozoic unconformity (i.e. thickness of denuded Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks), today buried beneath a thin veneer of Pleistocene sediment. It indicates that exhumation is mostly < 1500m (632-2132m; mean standard deviation 407m), less than denudation results obtained from vitrinite reflectance and apatite fission-track data. The map also reveals substantial variation in exhumation over short distances, often between adjacent wells sited on opposing walls of individual faults. This is interpreted in terms of the influence of Neogene basin inversion on the exhumation of the EISB. The role of late Tertiary tectonics in western UK exhumation is therefore discussed.

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