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

Surface and subsurface fault mapping in the Yorkshire Wolds, UK

Rowan Vernon1, Jon Ford1, Katie Watkinson1, Richard Haslam1, Mark Woods1, Andrew Farrant1, Helen Burke1, Alice Davis2, Jennifer Lear3, Harris Tarnanas4, and Edward Wrathmell2
Rowan Vernon et al.
  • 1British Geological Survey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (
  • 2Environment Agency, Leeds, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 3Environment Agency, Rotherham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 4Environment Agency, York, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Flamborough Head Fault Zone (FHFZ) marks the southern extent of the Cleveland Basin and the northern margin of the Market Weighton Block, England. It is a regionally-significant structural zone which has undergone a complex history of Mesozoic-Cenozoic extension and compression. It is predominantly comprised of east-west trending faults which form a graben that is dissected by north-south trending faults, including the southern extension to the Peak Trough, the Hunmanby Fault. To the west, FHFZ links with the Howardian Fault System and offshore, in the east, it is truncated by the north-south trending Dowsing Fault. The FHFZ is well exposed and described from coastal cliff sections at Flamborough Head but the inland development of the faults have hitherto been poorly explored predominantly due to limited inland-exposure.

The region around the FHFZ is underlain by the Chalk Group, a 500 m thick limestone succession. The Chalk Group is a principal aquifer that is the main source of water supply in East Yorkshire. The geometry and physical characteristics of the Chalk succession, including the effects of faulting, influence groundwater flow across the region. A range of modern data and recent geological research highlight that considerable changes can be made to the region’s current geological maps and subsurface understanding. Ensuring these features are better-documented is key for up-dating groundwater models to enable more confident decisions about land-use, water management and environmental regulation.

A multi-faceted approach to geological mapping has been undertaken in the region by the British Geological Survey (BGS), in collaboration with the Environment Agency. Remote sensing and field mapping of the superficial deposits has better characterised the extent and nature of these deposits and identified potential recharge ‘windows’ into the bedrock. Remote sensing, targeted field mapping, palaeontological analysis, passive seismic and 2D onshore seismic interpretation have been integrated to produce a new map of the Chalk succession, which reveals the inland extension of the FHFZ in unprecedented detail. Combining these techniques has enabled us to bridge the gap between the surface geology and deeper subsurface structure, increase our understanding of the geology of the region and produce an improved conceptual model at a range of depths which will be used to better manage water resources.

How to cite: Vernon, R., Ford, J., Watkinson, K., Haslam, R., Woods, M., Farrant, A., Burke, H., Davis, A., Lear, J., Tarnanas, H., and Wrathmell, E.: Surface and subsurface fault mapping in the Yorkshire Wolds, UK, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7290,, 2020

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