An extensive suite of igneous sills, collectively known as the Faroe-Shetland Sill Complex, has been intruded into the Cretaceous and Tertiary sedimentary section of the Faroe-Shetland Channel area. These sills have been imaged offshore by three-dimensional (3D) reflection seismic surveys and penetrated by several exploration boreholes. Data from wireline log measurements in these boreholes allow us to characterize the physical properties of the sills and their thermal aureoles. The borehole data has been compiled to produce new empirical relationships between sonic velocity and density, and between compressional and shear sonic velocities within the sills. These relationships are used to assist in calculation of synthetic seismic traces for sills intruded into sedimentary section, in order to calibrate the seismic response of the sills as observed in field data. This paper describes how the seismic amplitude response of the sills can be used to predict sill thickness where there is some nearby well control, and use this technique to estimate the volume of one well-imaged sill penetrated by Well 205/10-2b. Since the sills have a high impedance contrast with their host rocks, they return strong seismic reflections. 3D seismic survey data allow mapping of the morphology of the sills with a high level of confidence, although in some instances disruption of the downgoing seismic wavefield causes the seismic imaging of deeper sills and other structures to be very poor. Examples of sub-circular and dish-shapes sills, and also semi-conical and sheet-like intrusions, which are highly discordant are shown. The introduction of intrusive rocks can play an important role in the subsequent development of the sedimentary system. An example is shown in which differential compaction or soft sediment deformation around and above the sills appears to have controlled deposition of a reservoir quality sand body. The positioning of the sills within sedimentary basins is discussed, by constructing a simple model in which pressure support of magma from a crustal magma chamber provides the hydrostatic head of magma required for intrusion at shallow levels. This model is made semi-quantitative using a simple equation relating rock densities to intrusion depth, calibrated to observations from the Faroe-Shetland area. The model predicts that sills can be intruded at shallower levels in the sedimentary section above basement highs, which agrees with observations detailed in this paper.
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The North Atlantic Igneous Province has been the subject of extensive scientific investigation over the past thirty years, with a wide field of knowledge being accumulated. Recently, recognition of the potential role of Large Igneous Provinces in affecting ocean and atmosphere systems and biotic evolutionary pathways has lead to increased interest in this province. This has been further stimulated by the expansion in the search for oil and gas in Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments along the NE Atlantic Margin. An improved understanding of the interaction between igneous and sedimentary processes is vital for the identification of potential hydrocarbon resources.
The regions covered include continental margin Norway, east and west Greenland, the Faroe-Shetland Basin and the Faroe Islands themselves. The papers in this book contain new data and interpretations of North Atlantic Igneous Province magmatic processes, rift evolution, tectonics, stratigraphy (chemostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, seismic and isotope stratigraphy) and sediment dispersal. Many of the papers adopt a multidisciplinary approach to tha analysis and interpretation of complex volcanic and sedimentary sequences. These new data, and the reviews and compilations of existing data provide the reader with access to current research directions in North Atlantic Igneous Province geology.