International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 583–593 | Cite as

The Pyrenean inversion phase in northern Belgium: an example of a relaxation inversion?

  • Jef Deckers
  • Noël Vandenberghe
  • Timothy Lanckacker
  • Roel De Koninck
Review Article


The analysis of 2D seismic and well data provides new insights into the late Eocene to earliest Oligocene dynamics along the southern border of the North Sea area, Belgium. From the start of the Priabonian onwards, the northwestern part of the Campine Basin and the London–Brabant Massif to its west experienced subsidence and developed into a shallow trough. Simultaneously, several other southern North Sea basins, including the central and eastern part of the Campine Basin and the Roer Valley Graben, were inverted by what is generally referred to as the Pyrenean inversion phase. Inversion caused broad flexural uplift and minor reverse fault movements. The characteristics of inversions in the southern North Sea basins are very similar to each other and to those described for a phase of intraplate stress relaxation. The results of this study therefore suggest that the Pyrenean inversion phase was triggered by a regional stress relaxation that started around the Bartonian/Priabonian boundary and ended before the onset of the Oligocene.


Pyrenean inversion phase Latest Eocene Southern North Sea basins Stress relaxation 



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Land and Soil Protection, Subsoil, and Natural Resources Division of the Flemish Government. K. Van Baelen is thanked for her excellent work on the figures. We also wish to thank P. Krzywiec and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful reviews and recommendations that led to further improvements to the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jef Deckers
    • 1
    • 2
  • Noël Vandenberghe
    • 3
  • Timothy Lanckacker
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roel De Koninck
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.VITO, Flemish Institute for Technological ResearchMolBelgium
  2. 2.EnergyvilleGenkBelgium
  3. 3.Department Earth and Environmental SciencesKatholieke UniversiteitLouvainBelgium

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