EGU21-150, updated on 17 May 2022
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Depth-dependent inversion of normal faults: Structural analysis of the Penobscot 3D seismic volume, offshore Nova Scotia

Alexander Peace1, Christian Schiffer2, Scott Jess3, and Jordan Phethean4
Alexander Peace et al.
  • 1School of Earth, Environment and Society, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden (
  • 3Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Canada
  • 4School of Environmental Sciences, University of Derby, UK

The inversion of rift-related faults on passive margins through kinematic reactivation is documented globally. Such structures form an integral part in petroleum systems, provide essential constraints on the kinematic and structural evolution of rifts and passive margins, and can be used as global markers for far-field stresses. Despite the importance of inverted normal faults, the controls on their kinematic evolution, as well as existence and interactions within fault populations are often poorly constrained. Here, we present new structural interpretation and kinematic modelling of an inverted relay ramp structure located offshore Nova Scotia, Canada. This structure is imaged on the Penobscot 3D seismic reflection survey down to ~3.5 s TWTT, and is constrained by two exploration wells. We map two major normal faults that display evidence for inversion in their lower portions (reverse faulting and low-amplitude folding), below ~2.5 s TWTT, though retain a normal offset in upper sections. The wider fault population is dominated by ~ENE-WSW striking normal faults that dip both north and south, while both of the two major faults dip approximately south and are associated with antithetic and synthetic faults. This kinematic dichotomy along the major faults is important as inversion such as this may go unrecognised if seismic data does not image the full depth of a structure. To accommodate such depth-dependent inversion, if both horizons co-existed during inversion, a reduction in volume of the sedimentary package is required between the normal and reverse segments of the fault. In this study, we explore possible kinematic mechanisms to explain inversion structure and the mechanisms accommodating the volumetric changes/ or mass movements required using fault restoration and strain modelling. Our results favour a poly-phase deformation history that can be reconciled with other inversion structures on related passive-margin segments, suggesting these could be widespread processes.

How to cite: Peace, A., Schiffer, C., Jess, S., and Phethean, J.: Depth-dependent inversion of normal faults: Structural analysis of the Penobscot 3D seismic volume, offshore Nova Scotia, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-150,, 2021.

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