The Northwest European Carboniferous Basin is characterized by a series of carbonate platforms and intervening shale-dominated troughs during the Dinantian Sub-period. These structures have been mainly found along the margins of the basin. Here we present the results of an investigation of high-quality 3D seismic surveys, which has allowed the construction of a palaeogeographical and structural framework of the Dinantian Sub-period in the centre of the Northwest European Carboniferous Basin. Analysis of these data has revealed a series of structures characterized by flat tops, well-developed slopes and onlap by overlying strata. These geometrical features suggest that the structures represent Dinantian carbonate platforms, an interpretation that is supported by recently published well data. These findings suggest the following sequential depositional and structural model for the area: (1) during the Tournaisian Stage, carbonate sedimentation took place in basinal areas; (2) continued subsidence, probably induced by rifting, resulted in the gradual onlap of carbonate deposition onto topographically higher areas; (3) during the Late Viséan Stage, rimmed shelf deposition took place, by analogy with observations from the UK and Belgium. The seismically mapped structures represent these rimmed-shelf carbonate platforms.

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