Exploration challenges along the North Atlantic volcanic margins: The intra-volcanic sandstone play in subsurface and outcrop

Michael Larsen, Brian Bell, Pierpaolo Guarnieri, Henrik Vosgerau, Rikke Weibel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingspeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The margins of the North Atlantic rift are covered by an extensive succession of volcanic rocks, with up to 5 km of continental flood basalts, hyaloclastites and interbedded sedimentary rocks. The volcanic succession deteriorates seismic imaging and has hampered petroleum exploration in these areas. Focused research and pioneering exploration activity, however, has improved the understanding and development of new play models in volcanic-influenced basins. In 2004, the Rosebank discovery finally proved that intra-volcanic siliciclastic sandstones of the Flett Formation may form attractive hydrocarbon reservoirs in the Faroe-Shetland Basin. The Kangerlussuaq Basin in southern East Greenland offers a unique opportunity to study the interaction of siliciclastic sediments with lavas and various volcaniclastic units. It is demonstrated that: (1) laterally extensive siliciclastic sedimentary units are present in the lower part of the volcanic succession; (2) the morphology of the lavas controlled variations in sandstone geometry and thickness; and (3) deposition of the interbedded sediments and lavas occurred in a low-relief environment close to sea level. The mineralogical composition of the intra-volcanic sediments is highly variable, ranging from siliciclastic to purely volcaniclastic. Diagenetic studies suggest that the nature of the volcanic component in volcaniclastic sandstones is more important to reservoir properties than the relative concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPetroleum Geology of NW Europe: 50 years of learning - Proceedings of the 8th Petroleum Geology Conference
EditorsM. Bowman, B. Levell
PublisherGeological Society of London
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-1-78620-277-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event8th Petroleum Geology Conference - Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Sept 201530 Sept 2015
Conference number: 8

Publication series

SeriesPetroleum Geology Conference Series


Conference8th Petroleum Geology Conference
Abbreviated titlePGC VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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