Pre-existing intra-basement shear zones on the development of non-colinear rift fault network, Utsira High – Heimdal Terrace, North Sea
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Pre-existing intra-basement shear zones can induce mechanical and rheological heterogeneities that may influence rifting and the overall geometry of rift-related normal faults. However, the extent to which physical and kinematic interaction between pre-existing shear zones and younger rift faults control the growth of normal faults is less-well understood. Using 3D reflection seismic data from the northern North Sea and quantitative fault analysis, we constrain the 3D relationship between pre-existing basement shear zones, and the geometry, evolution, and synrift depositional architecture of subsequent rift-related normal faults. We identify NE-SW- and N-S-striking rift faults that define a coeval Middle Jurassic – Early Cretaceous, non-colinear fault network. NE-SW-striking faults are parallel to underlying intra-basement shear zone. The faults either tip-out above or physically merge with the underlying shear zone. For faults that merges with the basement shear zone, a change from tabular to wedge-shaped geometry of the hangingwall synrift strata records a transition from non-rotational to rotational extension faulting, which we attribute to the time of rift fault's linkage with the shear zone, following downward propagation of its lower tip. N-S-striking faults are oblique to, and offset (rather than link with) intra-basement shear zones. These observations highlight the selective influence pre-existing intra-basement shear zones may (or may not) have on evolving rift-related normal faults.