Abstract

Voluminous igneous complexes are commonly present in sedimentary basins on volcanic rifted margins, and they represent a challenge for petroleum explorationists. A 2500  km2 industry-standard 3D seismic cube has recently been acquired on the Vøring Marginal High offshore mid-Norway to image subbasalt sedimentary rocks. This cube also provides a unique opportunity for imaging top- and intrabasalt structures. Detailed seismic geomorphological interpretation of the top-basalt horizon, locally calibrated with high-resolution P-Cable wide-azimuth data, reveals new insight into the late-stage development of the volcanic flow fields and the kilometer-high coastal Vøring Escarpment. Subaerial lava flows with compressional ridges and inflated lava lobes cover the marginal high, with a comparable structure and size to modern subaerial lava fields. Pitted surfaces, likely formed by lava emplaced in a wet environment, are present in the western part of the study area near the continent-ocean boundary. The prominent Vøring Escarpment formed when eastward-flowing lava reached the coastline. The escarpment morphology is influenced by preexisting structural highs, and these highs are locally bypassed by the lava. Volcanogenic debris flows are well-imaged on the escarpment horizon, along with large-scale large slump blocks. Similar features exist in active volcanic environments, e.g., on the south coast of Hawaii. Numerous postvolcanic extensional faults and incised channels cut into the marginal high and the escarpment, and we found that the area was geologically active after the volcanism ceased. In summary, igneous seismic geomorphology and seismic volcanostratigraphy are two very powerful methods to understand the volcanic deposits and development of rifted margins. Our study demonstrates great promise for further understanding the igneous development of offshore basins as more high-quality 3D seismic data become available.

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