EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Quaternary evolution of the northern North Sea

Christine Batchelor1,2, Dag Ottesen3, Benjamin Bellwald4, Sverre Planke4,5, Helge Løseth6, Sverre Henriksen6, Ståle Johansen1, and Julian Dowdeswell2
Christine Batchelor et al.
  • 1Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
  • 2Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 3Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Trondheim, Norway
  • 4Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research (VBPR) AS, Olso, Norway
  • 5Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 6Equinor ASA, Trondheim, Norway

The North Sea has arguably the most extensive geophysical data coverage of any glacier-influenced sedimentary regime on Earth, enabling detailed investigation of the thick (up to 1 km) sequence of Quaternary sediments that is preserved within the North Sea Basin. At the start of the Quaternary, the bathymetry of the northern North Sea was dominated by a deep depression that provided accommodation for sediment input from the Norwegian mainland and the East Shetland Platform. Here we use an extensive database of 2D and 3D seismic data to investigate the geological development of the northern North Sea through the Quaternary.

Three main sedimentary processes were dominant within the northern North Sea during the early Quaternary: 1) the delivery and associated basinward transfer of glacier-derived sediments from an ice mass centred over mainland Norway; 2) the delivery of fluvio-deltaic sediments from the East Shetland Platform; and 3) contourite deposition and the reworking of sediments by contour currents. The infilling of the North Sea Basin during the early Quaternary increased the width and reduced the water depth of the continental shelf, facilitating the initiation of the Norwegian Channel Ice Stream.

How to cite: Batchelor, C., Ottesen, D., Bellwald, B., Planke, S., Løseth, H., Henriksen, S., Johansen, S., and Dowdeswell, J.: Quaternary evolution of the northern North Sea, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10118,, 2020

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