Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Correlating deformation events onshore and offshore in superimposed rift basins: The Lossiemouth Fault Zone, Inner Moray Firth Basin, Scotland

Tamas, Alexandra; Holdsworth, Robert E.; Underhill, John R.; Tamas, Dan M.; Dempsey, Edward D.; McCarthy, Dave J.; McCaffrey, Ken J. W.; Selby, David


Alexandra Tamas

Robert E. Holdsworth

John R. Underhill

Dan M. Tamas

Profile Image

Dr Eddie Dempsey
Senior Lecturer in Structural Geology and Geohazards

Dave J. McCarthy

Ken J. W. McCaffrey

David Selby



The separation and characterisation of different deformation events in superim-posed basins can be challenging due to the effects of overprinting and/or fault reactivation, combined with a lack of detailed geological or geophysical data. This paper shows how an onshore study can be enhanced using a targeted interpre-tation of contiguous structures offshore imaged by seismic reflection data. Two deformation events, including evidence of fault reactivation, are recognised and associated with the onshore part of the Lossiemouth Fault Zone (LFZ), southern- central Inner Moray Firth Basin. The basin is thought to record a history of Permian to Cenozoic deformation, but it is difficult to conclusively define the age of faulting and fault reactivation. However, structures in onshore outcrops of Permo– Triassic strata show no evidence of fault growth, and new interpreta-tion of seismic reflection profiles in the offshore area reveals that Permo– Triassic fills are widely characterised by subsidence and passive infill of post- Variscan palaeotopography. We propose that sequences of reactivated faulting observed onshore and offshore can be correlated and can be shown in the latter domain to be Early Jurassic– Late Cretaceous, followed by localised Cenozoic reactiva-tion. The workflow used here can be applied to characterise deformation events in other superimposed rift basins with contiguous onshore (surface)— offshore (subsurface) expressions.


Tamas, A., Holdsworth, R. E., Underhill, J. R., Tamas, D. M., Dempsey, E. D., McCarthy, D. J., …Selby, D. (in press). Correlating deformation events onshore and offshore in superimposed rift basins: The Lossiemouth Fault Zone, Inner Moray Firth Basin, Scotland. Basin Research,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 18, 2022
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Basin Research
Print ISSN 0950-091X
Electronic ISSN 1365-2117
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Fault reactivation; Inner Moray Firth Basin; North Sea; Superimposed deformation
Public URL


Published article (9.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2022 The Authors. <br /> This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations