Cenozoic evolution of the Faroe Platform: Comparing denudation and deposition

Morten Sparre Andersen, Aage Bach Sørensen, Lars Ole Boldreel, Tove Nielsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in bookResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Throughout Paleocene and Eocene time the Faroe-Shetland Channel and the eastern part of the Faroe Platform was a subsiding marine basin. In Early Paleocene time, basin-floor fans of a British provenance were deposited in the eastern part of the basin. In Late Paleocene time, c. 6km of basalt entered the basin from the west and north, and the basin was constricted by the large volumes of basalt that entered the basin, creating the Faroe-Shetland Escarpment. In Eocene time subsidence continued in the basinal areas. Again, sediments of a dominantly eastern provenance were deposited. Throughout Eocene time, erosion products from the Faroe Platform were possibly deposited in the Faroe Bank Channel and the Norwegian Sea Basin, but only to a limited degree in the Faroe-Shetland Channel. The oldest sediments of documented western provenance on the eastern margin of the Faroe Platform are of Early Oligocene age. During a compressional phase commencing in Mid-Late Miocene time some basinal areas emerged and erosion took place on the top of emerged anticlines. However, denudation throughout Late Miocene and Early Pliocene time was apparently rather limited compared with a Late Pliocene phase of denudation. During this phase of denudation, a large progradational wedge was deposited on the eastern margin of the Faroe Platform. On the basis of a structural analysis of the Faroe Platform, the amount of basalt removed from it during Cenozoic time is estimated to be c. 46 000 km3 (131 100 × 1012kg). Using 2900 kg m-3 as the density of basalt and 2300 kg m-3 as sediment density the estimated amount of removed basalt is in fair agreement with the estimate of the volume of sediments derived from the platform (c. 56 000 km3, 114 800 × 1012kg). The greatest deposition rates on the eastern Faroe Platform and in the Faroe-Shetland Channel apparently occured after two distinct inversion or compression events in Mid-Eocene and Mid-Late Miocene time. However, uplift of the Faroe Platform could have been forced by denudation rather than endogenous processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExhumation of the North Atlantic Margin: Timing, mechanisms and implications for petroleum exploration
EditorsA.G. Doré, J.A. Cartwright, M.S. Stoker, J.P. Turner, N. White
PublisherGeological Society of London
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)1-86239-112-2
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Publication series

SeriesGeological Society Special Publication

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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