The southwestern Barents Sea shows a complicated network of fault complexes and systems with various geometrical and genetic characteristics: trend, relation to basement, reactivation, fault plane geometry, and regional significance. Using these parameters, a classification of the fault complexes has been made, and a correlation to onshore faults has been attempted.
The area is subdivided into several fault blocks separated by deep-seated zones of weakness (first and second class fault systems). These are reactivated in connection with later (Mesozoic) movements in the area, and have acted as foci of strain so leaving the central area of the blocks relatively strain free. A third class of fault systems is of local significance, and reflects deformation limited to the interior of the fault blocks.