Stratigraphy and facies distribution of the Utsira Formation and the Pliocene sequences in the northern North Sea

Ulrik Gregersen, Olaf Michelsen, Jan C. Sørensen

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The Upper Cenozoic deposits of the northern North Sea have been analysed in order to establish a regional and detailed stratigraphy. The Utsira Formation is subdivided into four log-units and mapped, and two main depocentres are outlined. The lower part of the Utsira Formation consists of thick marine, mounded sand bodies, interpreted as overall stacked lowstand fan deposits, while the upper part of the formation consists of more clayey-silty intervals, indicating increased relative sea level. The succeeding progradational Pliocene deposits are subdivided into 13 high-frequency depositional sequences and are mapped. The sequences are grouped into four composite sequences. Each of the four Pliocene composite sequences is composed of one or two rather locally distributed, prograding sequences (lowstand sequence set), succeeded by one or two more widely distributed aggrading-prograding sequences (transgressive-highstand sequence set). Boundaries between the composite sequences are recorded as marked changes in distribution of depocentres and sequence architecture. The regional uplift of Scandinavia is believed to be the main control on sediment input, feeding the succeeding general prograding Pliocene sequences. Oscillations of the eustatic sea level punctuated the tectonically controlled progradation and affected variations in the accommodation space, and thus created the high-frequency sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-914
Number of pages22
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Miocene Utsira Formation
  • North sea
  • Pliocene sequence stratigraphy

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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