The evolution of a sedimentary basin is mostly affected by deformation. Large-scale, subsurface deformation is typically identified by the interpretation of seismic data and evaluated by palinspastic reconstruction. These studies also show, however, that sub-seismic small-scale fractures play a significant role: they may accommodate a significant proportion of the total strain (up to 50%) during basin evolution, lateral variation may cause compartmentalised deposits and reservoirs, and fracture networks may act as conduits for fluids. In the North German Basin (NGB) these aspects require an analysis of location, orientation and length distribution of the fracture systems with different methods for determining (a) the magnitude of deformation, (b) the strain accumulation in space and time, and (c) the processes that control (a) and (b) during basin evolution under varying kinematic constraints. To address these topics, our study aims to 1) quantify and predict areas of high- or low-strain accumulation in the NGB with seismic interpretation and 3-D retro-deformation, 2) validate these with drill hole and sample data, and 3) compare observed and predicted strain patterns with those from scaled analogue experiments to unravel the relationship at different scale lengths within structures representative of units in the NGB.


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