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Keywords:

  • Devonian basins Norway;
  • groundwater flow;
  • Nordford-Sogn Detachment Zone;
  • sedimentary layers;
  • shear zone;
  • temperature anomaly;
  • thermal convection

Abstract

The juxtaposition of fault-bounded sedimentary basins, above crustal-scale detachments, with warmer exhumed footwalls can lead to thermal convection of the fluids in the sediments. The Devonian basins of western Norway are examples of supradetachment basins that formed in the hanging wall of the Nordfjord-Sogn Detachment Zone. In the central part of the Hornelen and Kvamshesten basins, the basin-fill is chiefly represented by fluvial sandstones and minor lacustrine siltstones, whereas the fault margins are dominated by fanglomerates along the detachment contact. Prominent alteration and low-greenschist facies metamorphic conditions are associated with the peak temperature estimates of the sediments close to the detachment shear zone. Fluid circulation may have been active during the burial of the sediments, and we quantify the potential role played by thermal convection in redistributing heat within the basins. Different models are tested with homogeneous and layered basin-fill and with material transport properties corresponding to sandstones and siltstones. We found that thermally driven fluid flow is expected in supradetachment basins as a transient process during the exhumation of warmer footwalls. We demonstrate that the fluid flow may have significantly affected the temperature distribution in the upper five kilometers of the Devonian basins of western Norway. The temperature anomaly induced by the flow may locally reach about 80°C. The sedimentary layering formed by sand- and siltstones strata does not inhibit fluid circulation at the scale of the basin. The presence of fluid pathways along the detachment has an important impact on the flow and allows an efficient drainage of the basin by channelizing fluids upward along the detachment.