Fluid flow impact on slope failure from 3D seismic data: a case study in the Storegga Slide


Stefan Bünz, Department of Geology, University of Tromsø, Dramsveien 201, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway. E-mail: Stefan.Buenz@ig.uit.no


Analysis of three-dimensional (3D) seismic data from the headwall area of the Storegga Slide on the mid-Norwegian margin provides new insights into buried mass movements and their failure mechanisms. These mass movements are located above the Ormen Lange dome, a Tertiary dome structure, which hosts a large gas reservoir. Slope instabilities occurred as early as the start of the Plio-Pleistocene glacial–interglacial cycles. The 3D seismic data provide geophysical evidence for gas that leaks from the reservoir and migrates upward into the shallow geosphere. Sediments with increased gas content might have liquefied during mobilization of the sliding and show different flow mechanisms than sediments containing less gas. In areas where there is no evidence for gas, the sediments remained intact. This stability is inherited by overlying strata. The distribution of gas in the shallow subsurface (<600 m) may explain the shape of the lower Storegga headwall in the Ormen Lange area.