Rachel Barrett's research stay at vbpr (oslo, norway)

Rachel Barrett, ESR 1 | 27-31 August 2018

My project has significantly changed direction since this time last year; with the availability of new, very high resolution data being responsible for the shift. TGS recently collected a high resolution 3D seismic cube which covers part of the Tampen slide in the Norwegian Sea, and I was invited to work on this dataset with Benjamin Bellwald and Sverre Planke at VBPR in Oslo.

Multiple large-scale submarine landslides have been identified on the North Sea Fan; and the timing of the largest four of these slides is thought to be related to glacial-interglacial cycles, with a large slide occurring a few thousand years after the transition to an interglacial [Bryn et al., 2005; Solheim et al., 2005]. The Storegga Slide (with a volume of 3500 km3) is the most recent of these large-scale landslides on the Norwegian continental margin, having occurred ~8 ka (thousand years ago). Tampen, the penultimate slide, is purported to have occurred ~125 ka [Berg et al., 2005; Nygård et al., 2005; Solheim et al., 2005]; however, cores collected from the Aegir Ridge in 2014 indicate that this age model may need to be revised. If so, then the preconditioning and triggering mechanisms of the Tampen slide may also require further consideration.

The main goals of my week-long visit to VBPR were to familiarize myself with the new 3D seismic cube; ascertain how that cube can be correlated with other data that images the Tampen slide; and devise a work plan for this component of my project. The team at VBPR were very welcoming and supportive, and I really enjoyed being integrated into their office for the week. It was a new experience for me to be working alongside others who were (are) simultaneously studying different aspects of the same dataset, and I look forward to working with them more in the coming months!

I am also pleased to say that I learnt from my mistake earlier this year – when I had a short research stay in Malta but was too busy to explore much during the weekend I was there – and made the most of the opportunity to explore Oslo; even joining an informal city tour led by the NGI Norwegian teacher (who is also a part-time tour guide), thanks to an invite from fellow SLATE ESRs Thomas and Matthias who are based at NGI (the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute).


Berg, K., Solheim, A. and Bryn, P. (2005). The Pleistocene to recent geological development of the Ormen Lange area. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 22(1–2 SPEC. ISS.), pp. 45–56.

Bryn, P. et al. (2005). Explaining the Storegga Slide. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 22(1–2), pp. 11–19.

Nygård et al. (2005). The glacial North Sea Fan, southern Norwegian Margin: architecture and evolution from the upper continental slope to the deep-sea basin. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 22(1–2), pp 71-84.

Solheim, A. et al. (2005). The Storegga Slide complex: repetitive large scale sliding with similar cause and development. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 22(1–2), pp. 97–107.