Structural outline and development
The Central Graben is a broad, complex trough with a long history of differential subsidence. It was probably initiated in the Permian and was controlled by major rifting during the Mesozoic. To the south in the Dutch sector the trough is divided into two parts. From here it passes northwards and divides the southern North Sea Basin into the Anglo-Dutch Basin and the Northwest German Basin. It also separates the Mid North Sea High from the Ringkøbing-Fyn High. These highs form broad, east-west trending, relative stable ridges. The further continuation of the Central Graben is to the northwest, towards the centre of the North Sea, where it passes into the Viking Graben and the Moray Firth Basin at about 58° N. Where the Central Graben divides the two major highs, there is an elongate central narrow horst, the Dogger High, which is the southernmost of a row of mid-Graben highs. Both sides of the Graben are clearly defined by normal rotational faults that were intermittently active from Triassic to Early Cretaceous times.
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