Palaeocene sediments from the United Kingdom sector of the central North Sea
The Central North Sea Basin is part of a larger intra-oratonic basin which lies under the present North Sea and continues into the North-west European landmass. It takes the form of a broad synclinal downwarp and unlike the underlying Mesozoic graben system, block faulting plays only a minor part in its development. Information on lithology, palaeontology and mineralogy was obtained from petrophysical logs, cores and drilling samples provided by numerous oil companies. These were combined to produce lithostratigraphic and chronostratigraphic correlation throughout the area and to interpret the environments of deposition and facies associations. Palaeocene sediments within the area are predominantly arenaceous, deposited in a series of submarine fans fed by slope channels, and were derived from the rapidly uplifted Scottish landmass. A series of voleaniclastic horizons related to major episodes of igneous activity in the Tertiary Igneous Province provideschronostratigraphic data. The Eocene consists of a prograding deltaic complex centred in the Moray Pirth Basin in the north with open marine conditions in the basin centre. Progressive infilling of the basin resulted in a thick sequence of Oligocene marine shales in the basin axis with marginal clastics forming fringing barrier-bar complexes above Eocene deltaics. The subsidence and sedimentation history of the basin is influenced by major ocean-floor spreading episodes in the Northeast Atlantic.