Rob Gawthorpe is our new VISTA-professor from 2018

E-mail: Rob.Gawthorpe@uib.no

Rob Gawthorpe's VISTA research is divided into three main themes that investigate fundamental controls on structural development and on erosion, sediment routing and deposition in syn-tectonic sedimentary basin settings. The research programme involves collaboration with researchers at the University of Bergen and at other institutions internationally.

Theme 1: Tectono-sedimentary evolution of rifts

Existing tectono-sedimentary models for rift basins are mainly based on failed intracratonic rifts. These models emphasise local structural control on syn-rift stratigraphy at the fault-block scale and incorporate fault growth models based on homogeneous brittle crust. As a result they do not fully address the large-scale structural development of rifted margins and the dip and strike variability in syn-rift stratigraphic evolution. Research will focus on: i) interpretation of structural style and tectono-stratigraphy of syn-rift sequences from a range of rift settings ranging from failed rifts to highly extended rifted margins that have proceeded to break-up, and ii) investigation of the long-term drainage, sedimentation and structural evolution of rift basins.

Theme 2: Structural controls on deep-water depositional systems

Three-dimensional seismic datasets have provided us with spectacular images of the geometry and spatial distribution of deep-water turbidite deposits along continental margins. However, most published studies focus on individual submarine channels and lack a full understanding of the growth history of the structures that deform the seafloor and interact with the channels. New regionally extensive 3D seismic datasets and mega-merges of existing 3D seismic datasets give coverage along continental margins over areas of many tens of thousands of square kilometres. These datasets allow us to understand the response of deep-water deposits to sea-floor structures in a way that, until recently, was impossible.

Theme 3: Sediment supply and source-to-sink sequence stratigraphy

Existing sequence stratigraphic models highlight relative sea- or lake-level changes as the dominant control on depositional sequences, i.e. controls within the sedimentary basin 'sink'. Geomorphological studies of river catchment evolution suggest that climatic or tectonic perturbations can influence the volume and grain size characteristics of sediment generated from the 'source', but the exert to which these 'source' signals are transferred downstream and preserved in the stratigraphic record is unclear. Research will investigate the influence that sediment supply variability, as well as relative base-level change, has on sequence stratigraphy, focusing on tectonically active settings.

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