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Reconstructing the Variscan foreland basin in Southern England (lecture)

Thursday, 14 March 2019
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:
Lecture Theatre, Gregory Building
c/o School of Geographical & Earth Sciences
Glasgow, Glasgow City G12 8QQ United Kingdom

Dr Bernard Besly, Besly Earth Science Ltd

A full reconstruction of the Variscan orogeny in southern Britain has yet to be achieved. This mountain building episode remains enigmatic, partly because much of the evidence is covered by younger sedimentary successions, and partly because much evidence was removed by very extensive uplift and denudation in the ±40-million-year time gap between the latest preserved Carboniferous sediments and the resumption of deposition in the late Permian.

One of the unsolved elements of the puzzle concerns the extent and nature of subsidence related to foreland loading in southern England. In this talk the nature and extent of late Carboniferous foreland subsidence is evaluated with reference to coal and oil exploration results from successions concealed beneath the Mesozoic in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, which allow demonstration of the timing and extent of foreland basin development in the penultimate stages of Variscan deformation.

Background reading:
Besly, B.M. & Kelling, G. (eds) (1988) Sedimentation in a synorogenic basin complex: the Upper Carboniferous of northwest Europe. Blackie, Glasgow.
Corfield, S. M., Gawthorpe, R. L., Gage, M., Fraser A. J. & Besly, B. M. (1996) Inversion tectonics of the Variscan foreland of the British Isles. Journal of the Geological Society, 153, 17-32.
Peace, G.R. & Besly, B.M. (1997) End-Carboniferous fold-thrust structures, Oxfordshire, UK: implications for the structural evolution of the late Variscan foreland of south-central England. Journal of the Geological Society, 154, 225-237.
Bernard is an independent petroleum geologist and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Keele. His career has embraced periods as a lecturer at Keele and exploration geologist at Shell. Since 2001, working as a freelance, he has undertaken many sedimentological and stratigraphic projects in clastic successions from all depositional environments, ranging in age from Proterozoic to Pliocene and having a particular focus on continental deposits in humid tropical settings. From his PhD project onwards his research has been concerned with basin evolution in the British Carboniferous, with emphasis on the late Westphalian and Stephanian molasse basins associated with the Variscan orogeny.