A regional study of the Eocene succession in the UK sector of the Rockall Plateau has yielded new insights into the early opening history of the NE Atlantic continental margin. Data acquired from British Geological Survey borehole 94/3, on the Rockall High, provides a high-resolution record of post-rift, Early to Mid-Eocene, subaqueous fan-delta development and sporadic volcanic activity, represented by pillow lavas, tuffs and subaerial lavas. This sequence correlates with the East Rockall Wedge, which is one of several prograding sediment wedges identified across the Rockall Plateau whose development was largely terminated in the mid-Lutetian. Linking the biostratigraphical data with the magnetic anomaly pattern in the adjacent ocean basin indicates that this switch-off in fan-delta sedimentation and volcanism was coincident with the change from a segmented/transform margin to a continuously spreading margin during chron C21. However, late-stage easterly prograding sediment wedges developed on the Hatton High during late Mid- to Late Eocene times; these can only have been sourced from the Hatton High, which was developing as an anticline during this interval. This deformation occurred in response to Mid- to Late Eocene compression along the ocean margin, possibly associated with the reorganisation to oblique spreading in the Iceland Basin, which culminated at the end of the Eocene with the formation of the North Hatton Anticline, and the deformation (tilting) of these wedges. A series of intra-Eocene unconformities, of which the mid-Lutetian unconformity is the best example, has been traced from the Rockall Plateau to the Faroe–Shetland region and onto the Greenland conjugate margin bordering the early ocean basin. Whilst there appears to be some correlation with 3rd order changes in eustatic sea level, it is clear from this study that tectonomagmatic processes related to changes in spreading directions between Greenland and Eurasia, and/or mantle thermal perturbations cannot be discounted
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.