Abstract:

Classically, the North Sea Chalk is interpreted as having been deposited under quiet, homogeneous pelagic conditions with local redeposition in slumps and slides. Recent observations of highly discontinuous reflection patterns on 2D and 3D seismic reflection data from the NW European Chalk Group have led to a revision of some general ideas of chalk deposition, with the suggestion that long-lived, contour-parallel bottom currents exerted a primary influence on the development of intra-chalk channels, drifts and mounds. This study proposes an alternative explanation for the formation of selected intra-chalk seismic and stratal discontinuities, interpreting these as being caused by gravity-driven processes that developed in response to intense syndepositional tectonics. Submarine mass-transport systems identified in the study area include large-scale slumps, slides, debris flows and turbidites. The last occur in sinuous channel systems flanked by large master levees, with the channel fill exhibiting well-developed secondary banks and overbanks on the outer bends of the channel thalweg. This first documentation of channelized density-flow deposits in the North Sea Chalk has important consequences for the interpretation and prediction of redeposited chalk units, emphasizing at the same time the strength of detailed 3D seismic discontinuity detection for subsurface sedimentary-systems analysis.

You do not currently have access to this article.