Abstract

Intrusion-related vent structures found within Palaeocene sediments and near the Palaeocene–Eocene transition in basins along the NE Atlantic margin have been studied in detail using 3D seismic data. The vents formed at the palaeo-seabed as a result of sill intrusion and the vent fill ranges in composition from entirely remobilized sedimentary to dominantly magmatic. The vents are commonly developed above sill edges and crests in sills to which they are linked by pipe- and diatreme-like structures. The vents also develop above the upper tips of deep-seated faults and at fault intersections. The vents can be used to constrain the approximate timing of igneous sill intrusion and duration of hydrothermal activity. It is estimated that using the seismically constrained stratigraphic context of these vents to establish the timing of sill emplacement is associated with an uncertainty of >100 ka and up to as much as 800 ka. Interpretation of the vents indicates that sill intrusion took place during a number of discrete phases within the Palaeocene and earliest Eocene. These structures and their timing of formation have important implications for climate change studies, basin-scale processes including fluid flow and diagenesis, as well as hydrocarbon exploration.

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