Geophysics and Remote Sensing

  • Sverre PlankeEmail author
  • Henrik Svensen
  • Reidun Myklebust
  • Stephen Bannister
  • Ben Manton
  • Lars Lorenz
Part of the Advances in Volcanology book series (VOLCAN)


Igneous sheet intrusions such as sills, dikes, and laccoliths are abundant in volcanic basins. Mafic intrusions are characterized by highP-wave seismic velocities in the range from 5.0 to 7.0 km/s. Velocity aureoles with a thickness comparable to the sill intrusion are commonly identified on sonic log data above and below the intrusions. Sills as thin as 10 m may be detected by conventional seismic reflection data, whereas sills with a thickness above about 40 m are resolvable. Offset-dependent tuning of sill reflections is expected due to the high velocity of the intrusions. Deep sills are difficult to image by reflection methods but can be identified from wide-angle seismic data. Sill reflections are interpreted based on characteristic features such as their high amplitudes and saucer-shaped geometries. Sill complexes are further well-suited for 3D visualization techniques. Potential field and electromagnetic data may improve the reliability of the igneous intrusion interpretation; however such data have poor resolution if sills are buried below more than a few kilometers of sediments. Andesitic and felsic intrusions and laccoliths are less abundant than sills in volcanic basins, and few well-documented geophysical interpretation studies of such intrusions or dykes are published.



Special thanks to Audun Groth, Statoil, and VoxelVision for seismic visualization. Seismic data were kindly provided by TGS and EM data by EMGS. This work was partly supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme, project number 223272.


  1. Aarnes I, Svensen H, Connolly JAD, Podladchikov YP (2010) How contact metamorphism can trigger global climate changes: modeling gas generation around igneous sills in sedimentary basins. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 74:7179–7195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bell B, Butcher H (2002) On the emplacement of sill complexes: evidence from the Faroe-Shetland basin. Geol Soc, London, Spec Publ 197:307–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berndt C, Skogly O, Planke S et al (2000) High-velocity breakup-related sills in the Vøring Basin, off Norway. J Geophys Res: Solid Earth 105:28443–28454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bryan SE, Ernst RE (2008) Revised definition of large igneous provinces (LIPs). Earth Sci Rev 86:175–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bryan SE, Ferrari L (2013) Large igneous provinces and silicic large igneous provinces: progress in our understanding over the last 25 years. Geol Soc Am Bull 125:1053–1078. doi: 10.1130/B30820.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cartwright J, Hansen DM (2006) Magma transport through the crust via interconnected sill complexes. Geology 34:929–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chevallier L, Woodford A (1999) Morpho-tectonics and mechanism of emplacement of the dolerite rings and sills of the western Karoo, South Africa. S Afr J Geol 102:43–54Google Scholar
  8. Evenchick CA, Embry AF (2012) Geology, Ellef Rignes Island north Nunavut: Map 86 (preliminary). In: Canadian geoscience. Geological Survey of CanadaGoogle Scholar
  9. Favretto-Cristin N, Cristini P, Bazelaire E (2009) What is a seismic reflector like? Geophysics 74:T13–T23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gernigon L, Ringenbach JC, Planke S, Le Gall B, Jonquet-Kolstø H (2003) Extension, crustal structure and magmatism at the outer Vøring Basin, Norwegian margin. J Geol Soc London 160:197–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gernigon L, Ringenbach JC, Planke S, Le Gall B (2004) Deep structures and breakup along volcanic rifted margins: insights from integrated studies along the outer Vøring Basin (Norway). Mar Pet Geol 21:363–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gibb F, Kanaris-Sotiriou R (1988) The geochemistry and origin of the Faeroe-Shetland sill complex. Geol Soc, London, Spec Publ 39:241–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hansen DM, Cartwright J (2006a) Saucer-shaped sill with lobate morphology revealed by 3D seismic data: implications for resolving a shallow-level sill emplacement mechanism. J Geol Soc 163:509–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hansen DM, Cartwright J (2006b) The three-dimensional geometry and growth of forced folds above saucer-shaped igneous sills. J Struct Geol 28:1520–1535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hansen DM, Cartwright JA, Thomas D (2004) 3D seismic analysis of the geometry of igneous sills and sill junction relationships. Geol Soc, London, Memoirs 29:199–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Holford SP, Schofield N, Macdonald JD et al (2012) Seismic analysis of igneous systems in sedimentary basins and their impacts on hydrocarbon prospectivity: examples from the southern Australian margin. APPEA J 52:229–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Magee C, Jackson CA-L, Schofield N (2013) The influence of normal fault geometry on igneous sill emplacement and morphology. Geology 41:407–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Miles A, Cartwright J (2010) Hybrid flow sills: a new mode of igneous sheet intrusion. Geology 38:343–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Neumann ER, Svensen H, Tegner C et al (2013) Sill and lava geochemistry of the mid-Norway and NE Greenland conjugate margins. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 14:3666–3690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pant DR, Greenhalgh SA (1989) Lateral resolution in seismic reflection—a physical model study. Geophys J. 97:187–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Planke S, Cambray H (1998) Seismic properties of flood basalts from hole 917A downhole data, Southeast Greenland Volcanic Margin. Proc ODP Sci Results 152:453–462Google Scholar
  22. Planke S, Myklebust R (1999) Når seismikken kommer til kort. GEO, Trondheim 10:20–22Google Scholar
  23. Planke S, Rasmussen T, Rey S et al (2005) Seismic characteristics and distribution of volcanic intrusions and hydrothermal vent complexes in the Vøring and Møre basins. In: Geological Society, London, petroleum geology conference series. Geological Society of London, pp 833–844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Polteau S, Mazzini A, Galland O et al (2008) Saucer-shaped intrusions: occurrences, emplacement and implications. Earth Planet Sci Lett 266:195–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Puryear CI, Castagna JP (2008) Layer-thickness determination and stratigraphic interpretation using spectral inversion. Geophysics 73:R37–R48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rocchi S, Mazzotti A, Marroni M et al (2007) Detection of Miocene saucer-shaped sills (offshore Senegal) via integrated interpretation of seismic, magnetic and gravity data. Terra Nova 19:232–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rodriguez Monreal F, Villar HJ, Baudino R, Delpino D, Zencich S (2009) Modeling an atypical petroleum system: a case study of hydrocarbon generation, migration and accumulation related to igneous intrusions in the Neuquén Basin, Argentina. Mar Pet Geol 26:590–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schofield A, Totterdell JM (2008) Distribution, timing and origin of magmatism in the Bight and Eucla basins. In: Geoscience Australia, p 19Google Scholar
  29. Schofield NJ, Brown DJ, Magee C et al (2012) Sill morphology and comparison of brittle and non-brittle emplacement mechanisms. J Geol Soc 169:127–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Skogseid J, Eldholm O (1989) Vøring Plateau continental margin: seismic interpretation, stratigraphy and vertical movements. Proc Ocean Drill Program Sci Results 104:993–1030Google Scholar
  31. Skogseid J, Pedersen T, Eldholm O et al (1992) Tectonism and magmatism during NE Atlantic continental break-up: the Vøring Margin. Geol Soc, London, Spec Publ 68:305–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Skogly OP (1998) Seismic characterization and emplacement of intrusives in the Vøring Basin. Cand Scient thesis, Department of Geology, University of OsloGoogle Scholar
  33. Smallwood J, Harding A (2009) New seismic imaging methods, dating, intrusion style and effects of sills: a drilled example from the Faroe-Shetland basin. In: Varming T, Ziska H (eds) Second Faroe Islands exploration conference. Sindri–Jardfeingi, Torshavn, Faroe Islands, pp 104–123Google Scholar
  34. Svensen H, Planke S, Malthe-Sørenssen A et al (2004) Release of methane from a volcanic basin as a mechanism for initial Eocene global warming. Nature 429:542–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Svensen H, Planke S, Corfu F (2010) Zircon dating ties NE Atlantic sill emplacement to initial Eocene global warming. J Geol Soc 167:433–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thomson K (2004) Sill complex geometry and internal architecture: a 3D seismic perspective. Physical geology of high-level magmatic systems. Geol Soc, London, Spec Publ 234:229–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Thomson K (2007) Determining magma flow in sills, dykes and laccoliths and their implications for sill emplacement mechanisms. Bull Volc 70:183–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Thomson K, Schofield N (2008) Lithological and structural controls on the emplacement and morphology of sills in sedimentary basins. Geol Soc, London, Spec Publ 302:31–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Trude K (2004) Kinematic indicators for shallow level igneous intrusions from 3D seismic data: evidence of flow direction and feeder location. Geol Soc, London, Memoirs 29:209–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Trude J, Cartwright J, Davies RJ et al (2003) New technique for dating igneous sills. Geology 31:813–816CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Widess MB (1973) How thin is a thin bed. Geophysics 38:1176–1254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. White R, Smith L, Roberts A et al (2008) Lower-crustal intrusion on the North Atlantic continental margin. Nature 452:460–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang R, Castagna J (2011) Seismic sparse-layer reflectivity inversion using basis pursuit decomposition. Geophysics 76:147–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sverre Planke
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Henrik Svensen
    • 1
  • Reidun Myklebust
    • 3
  • Stephen Bannister
    • 4
  • Ben Manton
    • 5
  • Lars Lorenz
    • 6
  1. 1.Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED)University of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research (VBPR)Oslo Science ParkOsloNorway
  3. 3.TGSAskerNorway
  4. 4.GNS ScienceLower HuttNew Zealand
  5. 5.Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  6. 6.EMGSOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations