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Impact of Late Cretaceous inversion and Cenozoic extension on salt structure growth in the Baltic sector of the North German Basin
Basin Research  (IF4.308),  Pub Date : 2021-09-20, DOI: 10.1111/bre.12617
Niklas Ahlrichs, Vera Noack, Christian Hübscher, Elisabeth Seidel, Arne Warwel, Jonas Kley

The Late Cretaceous to Cenozoic is known for its multiple inversion events, which affected Central Europe's intracontinental sedimentary basins. Based on a 2D seismic profile network imaging the basin fill without gaps from the base Zechstein to the seafloor, we investigate the nature and impact of these inversion events on Zechstein salt structures in the Baltic sector of the North German Basin. These insights improve the understanding of salt structure evolution in the region and are of interest for any type of subsurface usage. We link stratigraphic interpretation to previous studies and nearby wells and present key seismic depth sections and thickness maps with a new stratigraphic subdivision for the Upper Cretaceous and Cenozoic covering the eastern Glückstadt Graben and the Bays of Kiel and Mecklenburg. Time-depth conversion is based on velocity information derived from refraction travel-time tomography. Our results show that minor salt movement in the eastern Glückstadt Graben and in the Bay of Mecklenburg started contemporaneous with Late Cretaceous inversion in the Coniacian-Santonian. Minor salt movement continued until the end of the Late Cretaceous. Overlying upper Paleocene and lower Eocene deposits show constant thickness without indications for salt movement suggesting a phase of tectonic quiescence from the late Paleocene to middle Eocene. In the late Eocene to Oligocene, major salt movement recommenced in the eastern Glückstadt Graben. In the Bays of Kiel and Mecklenburg, late Neogene uplift removed much of the Eocene-Miocene succession. Preserved deposits indicate major post-middle Eocene salt movement, which likely occurred coeval with the revived activity in the Glückstadt Graben. Cenozoic salt structure growth critically exceeded salt flow during Late Cretaceous inversion. Cenozoic salt movement could have been triggered by Alpine/Pyrenean-controlled thin-skinned compression, but is more likely controlled by thin-skinned extension, possibly related to the beginning development of the European Cenozoic Rift System.