Abstract

Quantifying the facies architecture of flood basalt provinces is important as it can be used to understand the physical volcanology and rock property variations throughout the lava sequence. The 3D facies architecture and internal heterogeneity of the Skye Lava Field, for example, provides important insights into the evolution of the British Tertiary Igneous Province, and valuable information to aid in the exploration of potential offshore reservoirs underlying significant flood lavas along the North Atlantic margin. The volcanic stratigraphy of the Talisker Bay area of Skye comprises: (1) lower compound-braided lavas (flow lobes <3 m thick); (2) transitional lavas (flows <8 m thick); (3) upper tabular-type lavas (flows <20 m thick), representing a relative increase in eruptive volume. A 3D model of the lava sequence was reconstructed using detailed digital geological mapping, revealing estimated volumes of: the lower sequence (12.7 km3), the transitional sequence (7.4 km3) and the upper sequence (17.0 km3). The lower sequence lavas formed on the flanks of a shield volcano and were sourced from the NE. Volcanological features such as lava feeder tubes, pahoehoe textures and lobes indicate a scale of volcanism similar to that of present-day Hawaii. The within-flow heterogeneity of the basalts is characterized using an ‘intrafacies scheme’, allowing comparison of variations in lithofacies with characteristic (geophysical) rock properties of compressional-wave velocity and density.

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