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Vertical plate motions in the West Siberian Basin as a signal of pressure-driven mantle flow

Alternative title: Rask og nøyaktig løsning av eikonal- og transport-likningene for seismisk avbildning

Awarded: NOK 1.5 mill.

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Project Period:

2014 - 2017

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Sedimentary basins are important storage spaces for oil, gas, hydrothermal energy and groundwater. These basins are formed as a result of relative downward motion of the Earth's crust and subsequent infilling of sediments. The forces controlling these vertical movements have been associated with plate tectonics, such as the buckling of the crust or the rifting between continents. Yet, for some basins significant vertical motions appear far away from tectonic margins and the forces behind them are unclear. One suggestion is that these motions are caused by movements of the Earth's mantle, deep below the crust. The West Siberian Basin is the world's largest petroleum basin in area and its sedimentary cover records the basin's tectonic history for the last 250 million years. In our project, we use this detailed sedimentary record to study whether the processes in the mantle drive inter-plate vertical motions and play a role in basin formation.

Vertical plate motions are an important phenomenon in basin dynamics. However, the underlying mechanisms, responsible for the localized vertical motions far away from the plate boundaries, are not fully understood. A good example of such intra-plate regio ns is the West Siberian Basin. This Basin was subject to numerous subsidence and uplift events over 250 million years. Recent geodynamical studies have shown that lateral pressure-driven flow in the upper mantle can lead to vertical deformation in the l ithosphere. Such deformation could be driven by basin-scale flow, not on the very large wavelengths previously thought. The proposed PhD project studies the vertical plate motions in the West Siberian Basin and their causes. Because vertical motions are the primary element in sedimentary basin formation, this PhD project is valuable for the Oil and Gas industry. Kalkulo offers software solutions that can be applied to the petroleum exploration problems. The results of the project will strengthen the pla te tectonics competence of the company and help the further development of relevant software.

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