Submarine mass movement processes on the North Sea Fan as interpreted from the 3D seismic data
Gafeira Gonçalves, Joana
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This research has been focused on the characterisation and analysis of the deposits of large-scale mass movement events that shaped the North Sea Fan since the Mid-Pleistocene. Located at the mouth of the cross-shelf trough Norwegian Channel, the North Sea Fan is one of the largest through-mouth fans in the glaciated european margin with an area of approximately 142,000 km2. Submarine mass movement processed have occurred intermittenrly throughout the Quarternary history of the North Sea Fan, related to recurrent climate-related episodes of growth and retreat of the ice sheets. These processes can transport large amounts of sediment from the upper shelf up to the abyssal basins, playing an important role on the evolution of continental margins and can also reporesnet major geological hazards. This thesis uses mainly 3D seismic data to investigate the external geometry and internal structure of large-scale mass movement deposits. The high spatial resolution provided by the 3D seismic data has allowed a detailed geomorpholocial analysis of these deposits, This study involved the interpretation of the seismic data and the detailed pickling of key reflectors followed by tge extraction of both horizon and window-based seismic attributes. Digital elevation models of the key reflectors and their seismic attribute maps were then transferred to a geographical information system (GIS) where they were interactively interpreted using spatial analysis tools and the full visualisation potential of the software. The outcomes of this study highlight the importance of detailed horizon pickling and interactice interpretation followed by spatial analysis and visualisation in GIS environment. The identification of acoustic patterns within deposits that are normally described from 2D seismic as chaotic or acoustically transparent emphasizes the potential of detailed analysis of 3D seismic data. It gives an example of how this type of data can provide new insights into the mechanisms and processes associated with mass movements. In particular, amplitude and RMS amplitude maps provide remarkable detailed information of internal deformation structures whereas slope, shaded-relief and thickness maps allowed detailed characterisation of the external geometry. Various types of kinematic indicators can be recognized within the mass movement deposits through combined seismic analysis and detaield morphological mapping.