Paper Summary

During the Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic, and before sea floor spreading occurred in the North Atlantic Ocean, the North American and Eurasian continents were closely juxtaposed (Fig. 1). In mid-Cretaceous times, the southwestern limit of the Hatton Basin, currently in Irish waters, was close to the rift basins now situated in the Labrador Sea and on Canada’s eastern continental margin. Also, the northwestern margin of Hatton Basin was adjacent to southeast Greenland. At present, the Hatton Basin is located on the extreme western margin of the European continent approximately 600 km due west of Scotland (Fig. 2). The extent of the Hatton Basin is defined by the Hatton High (to the west) and the Rockall High (to the east) (Fig. 3). Water depths increase southwards from 1000 m to over 1300 m. The continent/ocean crustal boundary underlies the western flank of Hatton Bank (Kimbell et al., 2005). 1 Commercially, the Hatton Basin is very remote, under-explored and has never been licensed for hydrocarbon exploration. It is currently the subject of ownership negotiations related to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea. It straddles the bilaterally-agreed median line between the UK and Ireland. Owing to data availability, this paper deals only with the northern part of the basin (the UK sector).