The prospectivity of the Barents Sea: Ice ages, erosion and tilting of traps

A three-phase conceptual glacial geological model for the Late Pliocene and entire Pleistocene period has been developed. The model explains variations in erosion in the Barents Sea in space and time and shows: The first phase (until ca. 1.5mill. years) was characterized by glacial erosion over the present land areas of Svalbard and Norway. Minimal, if any, erosion over present shelf areas. A transition phase (ca. 1.5 - ca. 0.5 mill. years) with glacial erosion over restricted areas. In the Norwegian sector glacial erosion was active from Svalbard down to the Bear Island Trough. Little, if any, glacial erosion south of the Bear Island Trough. The last phase (ca. 0.5 mill. years - present) is characterized by glaciations covering the entire shelf areas. This seems to be the only period when repeated glaciations eroded in the southwestern Barents Sea shelf, i.e. in the areas of petroleum prospecting. The three-phase glacial erosion model is supported by data on climate change over the period, by modelled change in topography, and by glacial geological data, especially from the Barents Sea. The approach and data also show that there is a great potential to test and refine the model to make it applicable to erosion estimates.

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