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AAPG Bulletin


Quantitative Determination of Tertiary Sediment Supply to the North Sea Basin1

X. Liu and W. E. Galloway3


Sediment supply comprises a major family of regime variables that influence geomorphic surface grade. Spatial and temporal changes in total sediment supply and sediment texture (gravel:sand:mud ratio) will cause reconfiguration of depositional and erosional profiles, potentially creating or influencing the sequence stratigraphic framework of the basin. Sequence grain volume, which is defined as the volume of sedimentary grains in an individual stratigraphic sequence (total sequence volume minus cement and porosity volume), has been quantitatively determined for each of 16 genetic stratigraphic sequences in the North Sea Basin. Rates of total sediment supply to the basin in both time and space were then calculated. Sand grain volume and sand:mud ratio were also calculated for each sequence. These data define four principal episodes of Tertiary sediment supply. The most significant episode occurred in the late Paleocene and was followed by secondary episodes in the Eocene and Oligocene. A fourth Neogene episode extends through the present. All episodes correlate to source-terrain tectonic pulses related to evolution of the North Atlantic Basin, to intraplate stress changes associated with successive phases of the Alpine orogeny, or to the late Cenozoic epeirogenic uplift of Scandinavia. The major episodes, in turn, contain

┬ęCopyright 1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

1Manuscript received January 16, 1996; revised manuscript received October 15, 1996; final acceptance February 21, 1997.

2Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas. Present address: International Exploration Branch, Phillips Petroleum Company, Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74004.

3Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.

We thank PGS NOPEC AS for providing the seismic grid used in this study. Amoco Production Company, Marathon Oil Company, Statoil, and BP Exploration provided financial support. These companies, along with ARCO Oil and Gas Company and Saga Petroleum a.s., donated well logs. X. Liu is also grateful for additional financial support from the Geology Foundation, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin. T. A. McGilvery read through the manuscript and made useful suggestions. Amanda Masterson's editing greatly improved the manuscript. Finally, we sincerely thank K. Biddle, G. T. Bertram, and an anonymous reviewer for their thorough and critical reviews of the manuscript and useful comments.

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