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Abstract

High-resolution seismic data are powerful tools that can help the offshore industries to better understand the nature of the shallow subsurface and plan the development of vulnerable infrastructure. Submarine mass movements and shallow gas are among the most significant geohazards in petroleum prospecting areas. A variety of high-resolution geophysical datasets collected in the Barents Sea have significantly improved our knowledge of the shallow subsurface in recent decades. Here we use a c. 200 km2 high-resolution P-Cable 3D seismic cube from the Hoop area, SW Barents Sea, to study a 20–65 m thick glacial package between the seabed and the Upper Regional Unconformity (URU) horizons. Intra-glacial reflections, not visible in conventional seismic reflection data, are well imaged. These reflections have been mapped in detail to better understand the glacial deposits and to assess their impact on seabed installations. A shear margin moraine, mass transport deposits and thin soft beds are examples of distinct units only resolvable in the P-Cable 3D seismic data. The top of the shear margin moraine is characterized by a positive amplitude reflection incised by glacial ploughmarks. Sedimentary slide wedges and shear bands are characteristic sedimentary features of the moraine. A soft reflection locally draping the URU is interpreted as a coarser grained turbidite bed related to slope failure along the moraine. The bed is possibly filled with gas. Alternatively, this negative amplitude reflection represents a thin, soft bed above the URU. This study shows that P-Cable 3D data can be used successfully to identify and map the external and internal structures of ice stream shear margin moraines and that this knowledge is useful for site-survey investigations.

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