Early Cretaceous stratigraphic and basinal evolution of the Danish Central Graben: a review

Jon R. Ineson, Henrik I. Petersen, Claus Andersen, Morten Bjerager, Finn C. Jakobsen, Lars Kristensen, Finn Mørk, Emma Sheldon

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An integrated seismic–stratigraphic study of the Lower Cretaceous Cromer Knoll Group was undertaken as part of a recent comprehensive analysis of the Upper Jurassic – lowermost Cretaceous petroleum system in the Danish Central Graben. This study of the basal group of the post-rift package yielded an updated regional assessment of the distribution of the Valhall, Tuxen, Sola and Rødby Formations. This is documented by four high resolution isochore maps (presented here) that record temporal shifts in subsidence patterns from the latest Ryazanian to the earliest Cenomanian. The distribution and thickness variation of the mud-dominated Valhall Formation (latest Ryazanian – early Hauterivian) at the base of the group attests to the progressive fill of inherited syn-rift morphology. The dominant depositional theme is thus ponding in, and onlap from, the main inherited depocentres, although growth faults and incipient inversion locally controlled stratigraphic architecture, and new depocentres were initiated in the east of the graben (Ål and Outer Rough Basins). The isochores for the succeeding, increasingly chalk-rich Tuxen, Sola and Rødby Formations (Hauterivian – earliest Cenomanian) document the regional weakening of syn-rift patterns but emphasize the shift in sedimentation patterns controlled by accelerating inversion activity in the east (Adda–Tyra area, Søgne Basin) and increased local subsidence. The latter sometimes coincided with syn-rift depocentres, such as the Roar Basin and the Arne-Elin Graben, but was also significant in the new Early Cretaceous depocentres in the west of the graben, particularly the Outer Rough Basin. The evolution of the Early Cretaceous basin recorded by this dataset reveals significant shifts in the subsidence pattern in the late Valanginian – early Hauterivian, in large part due to early inversion in the east, and during the late Aptian – early Albian when subsidence was focussed in central and western sub-basins, probably locally due to salt withdrawal. These events, in combination with sea-level change, had implications for the accumulation and preservation of Barremian and early Aptian reservoir chalks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-98
Number of pages24
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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