On the north-west European continental margin, regional shallow section stratigraphic mapping and geohazard studies, using new and existing datasets, provide a valuable input into site specific studies. This paper explores the interrelationships between work carried out at three different levels of scale and detail and illustrates how advances in geohazard, stratigraphic and structural interpretation and reporting have been made by integrating these regional and site specific studies.

The following projects are compared:

  1. Pan European EU funded projects (COSTA and STRATAGEM)

  2. Regional Oil Industry funded projects (Seabed Project, GEM etc.)

  3. Site specific geohazard evaluations

Specific reference is made to STRATAGEM and COSTA, which are projects funded by the EU as part of their 5th framework cluster, OMARC (Ocean Margin Deep-water Research Consortium). These will be compared to more detailed mapping and margin evolution studies carried out on the mid-Norwegian shelf within the Norwegian Deepwater Programme (NDP), otherwise known as the Geological and Geophysical interpretation of the Seabed Project. The results of regional and sub-regional projects have made important contributions at the planning and data analysis stages of subsequent, more detailed site specific investigation work.


A large number and variety of surveys have been carried out along the European margin in recent years, in particular, due to the oil and gas industry, along the glaciated margin of north-west Europe. The individual and collective values of the different types of study are considered. Interpretation concentrates on the three aspects of stratigraphy, structural mapping and geohazard analysis, focusing on examples which demonstrate the value of the integration of regional studies to site specific assessments.

The information sources for the paper are the two European Union (EU) funded projects, namely COSTA (Continental Slope Stability) and STRATAGEM (Stratigraphical Development of the Glaciated European Margin), the Seabed Project (Britsurvey, 1997; Britsurvey, 1999; Svitzer, 2002) and site specific work carried out within the Seabed Project area off mid-Norway. COSTA and STRATAGEM have funding for 3 years and are due to reach completion during Spring 2003. Both projects combine expertise from a number of academic organisations across Europe and have firm support from joint industry consortiums, including the Seabed Project (for details see the following websites: www.stratagem-europe.org and www.costa-europe.org.

The COSTA project aims to gain a better understanding of past mass movements and present day slope stability along the European margin focusing on three areas across the European continental slope including the north-east Atlantic (Figure 1). The STRATAGEM project is interested in the glaciated margin off north-west Europe extending from the Porcupine Basin off Ireland to Lofoten off mid-Norway (Figure 2). The purpose of the STRATAGEM project is to establish a margin-wide stratigraphic framework in order to address problems related to the mid-Cenozoic to recent development of the margin.(The Figures are available in full paper)

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