The geological development of the mid-Norwegian continental margin offshore Trøndelag and Nordland was strongly affected by massive volcanism about 56 million years ago. At this time, Norway and Greenland separated and the Norwegian-Greenland Sea started to form. The massive volcanism likely triggered a 4-5 degree global warming event, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), lasting for almost 200,000 years during a hot-house world. The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) drilled 21 boreholes on the Møre and Vøring margins in August and September 2021 to study the origin of this magmatism and and its influence on the paleoclimate. The PALMAR project will provide essential funding for post-cruise analyses, research, and integrated subsurface interpretation, including three PhD/PostDoc researchers. The project results will be used to constrain the mid-Norway sedimentary basin geology and the prospectivity implications.
The knowledge of the Paleogene geology of the Vøring and Møre basins is limited, as there are few exploration boreholes in the region and hardly any core data. The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) drilled 21 boreholes on the Møre and Vøring margins in August and September 2021 to study Paleogene magmatism and paleoclimate with a exploration budget of c. 15 MUSD. The expedition sampled the first sub-basalt sequences in the Møre and Vøring basins, documenting the presence of granites and associated eroded sandstone interbedded with lava flows on the Kolga High. One kilometer of sediment cores of Paleocene and early mid-Eocene age were recovered at 15 holes, providing unique records of the basin stratigraphy. Additionally, 400 m of lava flows were recovered providing important constraints on the basin environment during the initial opening of the NE Atlantic Ocean. The PALMAR project will provide essential funding for post-cruise analyses, research, and integrated subsurface interpretation, including 3 PhD/PostDoc researchers. Of particular importance is to generate a consistent lithostratigraphy of each borehole. We will further complete a consistent and high-resolution core-log-seismic integration of the boreholes, facilitated by extensive wireline and core petrophysical IODP data and high-resolution 2D and 3D site survey data. The detailed borehole studies will be used as calibration for regional interpretation of the Paleogene basin stratigraphy and depositional processes, providing a framework for geodynamic modelling of basin development, paleoenviroment, and temperature history. The implications of the research on basin prospectivity and global paleoclimate will be done in close collaboration with collaborating Norwegian exploration companies as the study area covers areas with large-scale exploration licenses and petroleum production from the Aasta Hansteen and Ormen Lange gas fields.