The lower Neogene stratigraphy of the NW European Atlantic margin, from the Vøring to the Porcupine basins, is interpreted to record a discrete phase of compressional tectonism that spanned at least 8 Ma from the earliest to the early mid-Miocene. This compressional tectonism may be coeval with a local reorganisation of the NE Atlantic plate system with the transfer of the Jan Mayen micro-plate from Greenland to Europe. The compressional tectonics has resulted in a number of stratigraphic sequences of complex character bounded by regional base Neogene and intra-Miocene unconformities. These are traceable across a range of depths and record distortion of the basin margins and changes in deep-water circulation patterns. This episode of compressional tectonics has also resulted in the creation of a number of anticlinal domes along the Norwegian, Faroese and UK Atlantic margins. The stratigraphic and structural evidence are interpreted to record two stages in the development of the margin: the first being characterised by a prolonged period of regional flexure in response to the build-up of compressive stresses; the second stage is the development of anticlinal structures that led to a rapid release of stress. In the Wyville-Thomson-Faroes region, compressional deformation influenced the creation of the present-day deep-water conduit of the Faroe Bank Channel, which is interpreted to be an early Neogene syncline. Together, the Faroe Bank and Faroe-Shetland channels represent the deepest water passageway across the Greenland-Scotland Ridge. The early Neogene development of this conduit is considered to mark the onset of deep-water exchange across this oceanic gateway.
- Compressional tectonics
- Greenland-Scotland Ridge
- Ocean gateway
- Programme Area 3: Energy Resources