Cenozoic basin development and stratigraphy of the Faroes area

Aage Bach Sørensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


The present paper reviews the geological development of the Faroes part of the NE Atlantic Margin in the Cenozoic Era. The Faroes area is located west of the post-Caledonian rift basin system formed in the Devonian after the collapse of the Caledonian mountains. Tectonic movements and plate reorganizations during several phases have strongly influenced sedimentation and erosion along the Caledonian front. During the Cenozoic four main tectonic phases with uplift, non-deposition or erosion, had a major influence on basin development and structural setting. First, the arrival of the Icelandic plume to the Faroes area caused a series of uplift phases, which are recorded in the Selandian-Early Ypressian sedimentary succession. Second, tectonic uplift in the Middle Eocene ended the period of almost continuous subsidence of the Judd Basin since the Danian. In the Middle and Late Eocene new depocentres formed in the northern part of the Faroe-Shetland Trough and in the Faroe Bank Basin. Third, due to uplift and sea-level fall in the Late Oligocene, widespread erosion of the Eocene and Oligocene successions resulted in a major unconformity on the shelf. Finally, in Neogene times, folding and uplift of the Fugloy Ridge occurred contemporaneously with renewed subsidence in the northern part of the Faroe-Shetland Trough and the Faroe Bank Basin. Maps of Cenozoic key horizons illustrate this geological development from the start of the Palaeogene volcanism to the present day. Four regional maps are presented, two maps showing depths to Top Basalt and Top Palaeogene, and two isochore maps of the corresponding post-Basalt sediment sequences, the Palaeogene and the Neogene. The petroleum system in the Judd Basin was strongly influenced by inversion in Middle Eocene to Recent times. Reservoirs and source rocks were uplifted up to about 600 m, with gas flushing, seal breakage and interruption in petroleum generation as consequences. Petroleum systems may also exist in the Faroe Bank Basin and in the northern part of the Faroe-Shetland Trough.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-207
Number of pages19
JournalPetroleum Geoscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • Basin development
  • Faroe Islands
  • Neogene
  • Palaeogene
  • Petroleum system
  • Stratigraphy

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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