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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Houston Geological Society Bulletin


Houston Geological Society Bulletin, Volume 27, No. 7, March 1985. Pages 3-3.

Abstract: The Geological Framework and Hydrocarbon Potential of Sedimentary Basins of the Arctic


Arthur R. Green

The Arctic Ocean basin, which separates the Eurasian and North American continents, is more than 4 km. deep, covers more than 13 million square kilometeres, and contains over 30 sedimentary basins and many of the world's least understood major physiographic features. The shelves that surround the deep oceanic basin are some of the widest of the world. Nearly 60 percent of the Arctic Ocean is less than 1 km. deep, and over 80 percent of the ocean is less than 3 km. deep. The sedimentary basins of the Arctic contain thick sedimentary sections of Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Tertiary sections.

The crust beneath the sedimentary basins of the Arctic has a long and dynamic history. During much of the Phanerozoic, convergent plate motion caused thrust faulting, magmatism, subduction and the accretion of dew marine sediments and suturing of exotic terranes to the continents around the Arctic. Sedimentary basins were formed within this complex crustal setting by large-scale rifting, shearing and compression. A disproportionate number of interior rift basins have formed in the Arctic with their large basement evolved traps, widespread high-quality reservoirs, moderate to warm heat flow, good seals and effective plumbing systems.

Paleolatitudes have ranged from near the equator to the present polar position, with climates varying from tropical to arid to boreal. In a number of the sedimentary basins the positive paleoenvironmental factors which influence source rock deposition and reservoir quality have combined with the favorable tectonic setting of interior rift basin formations to create a number of productive sedimentary basins with exciting potential.

The presentation will systematically review a series of time slice maps from the late Devonian to the early Tertiary which depict the tectonic, stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental evolution of the sedimentary basins of the Arctic. This will be followed by an analysis comparing contrasting the basins and a summary of the known oil and gas occurrences in the Arctic to date.

Although the Arctic is one of the most climatically hostile and financially demanding areas of the world, it is also one of the most exciting and promising hunting grounds that remains to be explored.

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