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Sand injections are overrepresented in deep marine deposits and other settings with slope instabilities. We have examined seismic data from the North Sea to reveal their main trigger mechanisms. This was performed by inspection of local seismic observations in the Oligocene to Miocene sediments above the Utsira High and analyses of regional distribution of mounds at the top Hordaland Group surface in the northern North Sea. We make the observations that (1) the uplift of jack-up folds is in most cases larger than the sand thickness within the mounds, (2) onlap to mounds is present in periods with sand deposition, but no such onlap is seen in mudstones that were deposited in periods with little or no sand input, (3) onlapping to several Oligocene surfaces is seen above the Utsira High, (4) rim synclines are not present adjacent to Oligocene and Miocene mounds and (5) mounds that affect the top Hordaland Group surface are present in basin flanks and at basin-flank transitions but not in basin centres. We suggest that triggering by incipient slab sliding can explain these observations.

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