Geologie en Mijnbouw

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 17–37 | Cite as

Seismic stratigraphy of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic in northern Belgium: main results of a high-resolution reflection seismic survey along rivers and canals

  • M. De Batist
  • W.H. Versteeg


This paper presents the results of high-resolution reflection seismic surveys carried out between 1989 and 1996 along rivers and canals in northern Belgium. The seismic data penetrate down to 900 m in the sedimentary cover or to the Paleozoic basement. The reflection response of the acoustic basement provides clear indications with regard to the top of the Paleozoic: crystalline basement and Lower Paleozoic metasediments and volcanics of the London-Brabant Massif and NE-dipping Devonian and Carboniferous strata. The subhorizontal Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary cover comprises 20 unconformity-bound seismic units: 5 in the Cretaceous and 15 in the Cenozoic. Based on borehole information, these units are correlated with lithostratigraphically defined formations or groups. Some of the unit-bounding unconformities are of regional importance. They are attributed i) to eustatic sea-level changes causing regional flooding during the Late Cretaceous or incision of deep valleys during the Late Oligocene and Late Miocene, ii) to regional tectonic tilting between Late Eocene and Early Oligocene, or iii) to a combination of eustasy and tectonics causing valley incisions during the Lutetian. Faults of the Roer Valley Graben have offset different stratigraphic levels by sometimes considerable amounts (up to 230 m in the Oligocene to Quaternary succession). Although the main tectonic phase took place during the Miocene, the activity has varied considerably through time, and also from fault to fault. Most faults seem to have a 10 to 30-m displacement since the Late Pliocene.

London-Brabant Massif Campine Basin Roer Valley Graben reflection seismics unconformities 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. André, L. 1991 The concealed crystalline basement in Belgium and the ‘Brabantia’ microplate concept: constraints from the Caledonian magmatic and sedimentary rocks — Ann. Soc. Géol. Belgique 114: 117–139Google Scholar
  2. Camelbeeck, T. & M. Meghraoui 1996 Large Earthquakes in Northern Europe More Likely Than Once Thought — EOS Transactions 77: 405, 409Google Scholar
  3. Cartwright, J. 1994 Episodic basin-wide hydrofracturing of overpressured Early Cenozoic mudrock sequences in the North Sea Basin — Marine Petroleum Geol. 11: 587–607Google Scholar
  4. Chacksfield, B.C., W. De Vos, L. D'Hooge, M. Dusar, M.K. Lee, C. Poitevin, C.P. Royles & J. Verniers 1993 A new look at Belgian aeromagnetic and gravity data through image-based display and integrated modelling techniques — Geol. Magazine 130: 583–591Google Scholar
  5. Davis, A. (ed.) 1992 Methane in Marine Sediments — Continental Shelf Research 12: 1075–1264Google Scholar
  6. De Batist, M. 1989 Seismostratigrafie en structuur van het Paleogeen in de zuidelijke Noordzee. Unpubl. PhD Thesis, University of Gent, 107 ppGoogle Scholar
  7. De Batist, M. & J.P. Henriet 1995 Seismic sequence stratigraphy of the Paleogene offshore of Belgium, southern North Sea — J. Geol. Soc. London 152: 27–40Google Scholar
  8. De Batist, M., W. Versteeg, J. Van Lint & P. Van Rensbergen 1992 Struktureel ondiepwater seismisch onderzoek. Unpubl. Final Report, University of Gent, 76 pp + 105 figsGoogle Scholar
  9. De Batist, M., W. Versteeg & J. Van Lint 1993 Ondiepwater seismisch onderzoek. Unpubl. Final Report, University of Gent, 50 pp + 81 figsGoogle Scholar
  10. De Batist, M., W. Versteeg & K. Vanneste 1996 Ondiepwater seismisch onderzoek. Unpubl. Final Report, University of Gent, 73 pp + 117 figsGoogle Scholar
  11. De Geyter, G. 1981 Contribution to the lithostratigraphy and the sedimentary petrology of the Landen Fm in Belgium — Meded. Kon. Acad. Wetensch., Lett. Schone Kunsten België, Kl. Wetensch. 43: 111–153Google Scholar
  12. Demyttenaere, R. 1988 De Post-Paleozoische geologische geschiedenis van Noord-België. Unpubl. PhD Thesis, Katholic University of Leuven, 175 ppGoogle Scholar
  13. Demyttenaere, R. & P. Laga 1988 Breuken-en isohypsenkaarten van het Belgisch gedeelte van de Roerdal Slenk. Eerste resultaten van een seismisch onderzoek in het gebied van Poppel-Lommel-Maaseik — Belg. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper 234, 32 ppGoogle Scholar
  14. Depret, M. 1983 Studie van de lithostratigrafie van het Kwartair en van het Tertiaire substraat te Zeebrugge onder meer met diepsonderingen — Belg. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper 201: 235 ppGoogle Scholar
  15. De Vos, W., B.C. Chacksfield, L. D'Hooge, M. Dusar, M.K. Lee, C. Poitevin, C.P. Royles, T. Vandenborgh, J. Van Eyck & J. Verniers 1993a Image-based display of Belgian digital aeromagnetic and gravity data — Belg. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper 263, 8 ppGoogle Scholar
  16. De Vos, W., J. Verniers, A. Herbosch & M. Vanguestaine 1993b A new geological map of the Brabant Massif, Belgium — Geol. Magazine 130: 605–611Google Scholar
  17. Dreesen, R., J. Bouckaert, M. Dusar, J. Soille & N. Vandenberghe 1987 Subsurface structural analysis of the late-Dinantian carbonate shelf at the northern flank of the Brabant Massif (Campine Basin, N-Belgium) — Toel. Verh. Geol. Kaart enMijnkaart België 21, 37 ppGoogle Scholar
  18. Felder, P.J., M.J.M. Bless, R. Demyttenaere, M. Dusar, J.P.M. Th. Messen & F. Robaszynski 1985 Upper Cretaceous to Early Tertiary deposits (Santonian-Paleocene) in northeastern Belgium and South Limburg (the Netherlands) with reference to the Campanian-Maastrichtian — Belg. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper 214, 151 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Geluk, M.C., E.J. Th. Duin, R.H.B. Rijkers, M.W. van den Berg, P. van Rooijen, M. Dusar 1994 Stratigraphy and tectonics of the Roer Valley Graben — Geol. Mijnbouw 73: 129–141Google Scholar
  20. Haq, B.U., J. Hardenbol & P.R. Vail 1987 The chronology of fluctuating sea level since the Triassic — Science 235: 1156–1167Google Scholar
  21. Henriet, J.P., M. De Batist, W. Van Vaerenbergh & M. Verschuren 1988 Seismic facies and clay tectonic features of the Ypresian clay in the Southern North Sea — Bull. Belg. Ver. Geol. 97: 457–472Google Scholar
  22. Henriet, J.P., M. De Batist, M. Verschuren & W. Versteeg 1990 Ondiepwater seismisch onderzoek. Unpubl. Final Report, University of Gent, 50 pp + 63 figsGoogle Scholar
  23. Henriet, J.P.,M. De Batist & M. Verschuren 1991 Early fracturing of Palaeogene clays, southernmost North Sea: relevance to mechanisms of primary hydrocarbon migration. In: Spencer, A.M. (ed.) Generation, Accumulation and Production of Europe' Hydrocar bons. Eur. Assoc. Petr. Geosc. Spec. Publ. 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 217–227Google Scholar
  24. Henriet, J.P., B. D'olier, J.P. Auffret & H. Andersen 1982 Seismic tracking of geological hazards related to clay tectonics in the Southern Bight of the North Sea — Proc. Symp. Eng. Mar. Env.: 1.5–1.15Google Scholar
  25. Henriet, J.P. & Ph. Heldens 1982 Seismisch onderzoek. Premetrolijn naar Linkeroever. Unpubl. Final Report, University of Gent, 35 pp + 24 figsGoogle Scholar
  26. Henriet, J.P., A. Monjoie & C. Schroeder 1986 Shallow seismic investigations in engineering practice in Belgium — First Break 4: 29–37Google Scholar
  27. Houthuys, R. 1990 Vergelijkende studie van de afzettingsstruktuur van getijdenzanden uit het Eoceen en van de huidige Vlaamse Banken — Aardk. Meded., Leuven University Press, Leuven, 5, 137 ppGoogle Scholar
  28. Jacobs, P. 1978 Litostratigrafie van het Boven-Eoceen en van het Onder-Oligoceen in noordwest België — Belg. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper 151, 92 ppGoogle Scholar
  29. Jacobs, P. & M. De Batist 1996 Sequence stratigraphy and architecture on a ramp-type continental shelf: the Belgian Palaeogene. In: De Batist, M. & P. Jacobs (eds.) Geology of Siliciclastic Shelf Seas. Geol. Soc. Spec. Publ. 117: 23–48Google Scholar
  30. Langenaeker, V. & M. Dusar 1992 Subsurface facies analysis of the Namurian and earliest Westphalian in the western part of the Campine Basin (N Belgium) — Geol. Mijnbouw 71: 161–172Google Scholar
  31. Legrand, R. 1968 Le Massif du Brabant — Mém. Serv. Géol. Belg. 9, 148 ppGoogle Scholar
  32. Marechal, R. 1992 De geologische structuur. In: Denis, J. (ed.) Geografie van België. Gemeentekrediet, Brussel: 38–86Google Scholar
  33. Marechal, R. & P. Laga (comps.) 1988 Voorstel lithostratigrafische indeling van het Paleogeen. Nationale Commissies voor Stratigrafie — Commissie Tertiair, Brussels, 208 ppGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitchum, R.M. Jr., P.R. Vail & J.B. Sangree 1977 Stratigraphic interpretation of seismic reflection patterns in depositional sequences. In: Payton, C.E. (ed.) Seismic Stratigraphy — Application to Hydrocarbon Exploration. Am. Ass. Petr. Geol. Mem. 26: 117–134Google Scholar
  35. Rossa, H.G. 1986 Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary inversion tectonics in the western part of the Rhenish-Westphalian coal district (FRG) and in the Campine area (N Belgium) — Ann. Soc. Géol. Belgique 109: 367–410Google Scholar
  36. Sangree, J.B. & J.M. Widmier 1977 Seismic interpretation of clastic depositional facies. In: Payton, C.E. (ed.) Seismic Stratigraphy — Application to Hydrocarbon Exploration. Am. Ass. Petr. Geol. Mem. 26: 165–184Google Scholar
  37. Steurbaut, E. 1992 Integrated stratigraphic analysis of Lower Rupelian deposits (Oligocene) in the Belgian Basin — Ann. Soc. Géol. Belgique 115: 287–306Google Scholar
  38. Steurbaut, E. & D. Nolf 1986 Revision of Ypresian stratigraphy of Belgium and northwestern France — Meded.Werkgr. Tert. Kwart. Geol. 23: 115–172Google Scholar
  39. Tóth, T., R. Vida, F. Horváth & P. Simpkin 1997 Shallow-water single and multichannel seismic profiling in a riverine environment — The Leading Edge 16: 1691–1695Google Scholar
  40. Vandenberghe, N. 1978 Sedimentology of the Boom Clay (Rupelian) in Belgium — Verh. Kon. Acad. Wetensch., Lett. Schone Kunsten België, Kl. Wetensch. 147, 137 ppGoogle Scholar
  41. Vandenberghe, N., E. Poggiagliolmi & G. Watts 1986 Offset dependent seismic amplitudes from karst limestone in northern Belgium — First Break 4: 9–27Google Scholar
  42. Vandenberghe, N., P. Laga, E. Steurbaut, P. Hardenbol & P. Vail (in press) Sequence stratigraphy of the Tertiary at the southern border of the North Sea Basin in Belgium. In: De Graciansky, P.Ch., T. Jacquin & P.R. Vail (eds) Mesozoic-Cenozoic Sequence Stratigraphy of Western European Basins, 2. Soc. Econ. Paleont. Min. Spec. Publ.Google Scholar
  43. Verbeek, N. 1995 Aspects of high resolution marine seismics — Geologica Ultraiectina 125, 134 ppGoogle Scholar
  44. Verbeek, N., C. OldeMonnikhof, M. Koktas, T.M. McGee, W. De-Gans & H. Zwaan 1995 Canal seismics in the Netherlands. In: Bjørnø, L. (ed.) Second European Conference on Underwater Acoustics. Elsevier Applied Science, London: 937–941Google Scholar
  45. Vinken, R. (comp.) 1988 The Northwest European Tertiary Basin. Results of the International Geological Correlation Programme: Project No 124 — Geol. Jahrb. A100, 508 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. De Batist
    • 1
  • W.H. Versteeg
    • 1
  1. 1.Renard Centre of Marine GeologyUniversity of Gent, KrijgslaanGentBelgium

Personalised recommendations