DOI: 10.1144/jgs2022-172 ISSN: 0016-7649

3D Seismic reflection evidence for lower crustal intrusions beneath the Faroe–Shetland Basin, NE Atlantic Margin

Lucinda K. Layfield, Nick Schofield, Douglas Watson, Simon P. Holford, David W. Jolley, Ben A. Kilhams, David K. Muirhead, Alan M. Roberts, Andrew D. Alvey, Alex Ellwood, Mike Widdowson
  • Geology

Lower crustal intrusion is considered to be a common process along volcanic or magma-rich passive margins, including the NE Atlantic Margin, where it is thought to have occurred during phases of Paleogene magmatism, both prior to and during continental break-up between NW Europe and Greenland. Evidence of Paleogene magmatism is prevalent throughout the sub-basins of the Faroe–Shetland Basin as extensive lava flows and pervasive suites of igneous intrusions. However, in contrast with other areas located along the NE Atlantic Margin, no lower crustal reflectivity indicative of lower crustal intrusion has been documented beneath the Faroe–Shetland Basin. The nearest documentation of lower crustal reflectivity and interpretation of lower crustal intrusion to the Faroe–Shetland Basin is NW of the Fugloy Ridge, beneath the Norwegian Basin of the Faroese sector. Despite this, the addition of magma within the lower crust and/or at the Mohorovičić discontinuity is thought to have played a part in Paleogene uplift and the subsequent deposition of Paleocene–Eocene sequences. Advances in sub-basalt seismic acquisition and processing have made significant improvements in facilitating the imaging of deep crustal structures along the NE Atlantic Margin. This study used broadband 3D seismic reflection data to map a series of deep ( c. 14–20 km depth) high-amplitude reflections that may represent igneous intrusions within the lower crust beneath the central-northern Corona Ridge. We estimate that the cumulative thicknesses of the reflections may be >5 km in places, which is consistent with published values of magmatic underplating within the region based on geochemical and petrological data. We also estimate that the total volume of lower crustal high-amplitude reflections within the 3D dataset may be >2000 km 3 . 2D gravity modelling of a seismic line located along the central-northern Corona Ridge supports the interpretation of lower crustal intrusions beneath this area. This study provides evidence of a potential mechanism for Paleogene uplift within the region. If uplift occurred as a result of lower crustal intrusions emplaced within the crust during the Paleogene, then we estimate that c. 300 m of uplift may have been generated within the Corona Ridge area.

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