About This Item

Share This Item

The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 998

Last Page: 998

Title: Geology and Hydrocarbon Potential of Antarctica: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Bill St. John

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Antarctica covers approximately 14 million sq km, an area greater than the United States and Mexico combined. About 98% of this expanse is buried beneath a continental ice sheet having an average thickness of 3,000 m.

Seven nations have territorial claims to parts of Antarctica; however, parts remain unclaimed. The 1959 Antarctic Treaty, extending to 1991, freezes territorial claims for its duration. The treaty does not cover mineral or hydrocarbon exploration or exploitation.

Available data indicate the presence of 13 major sedimentary areas or basins on or fringing the Antarctic craton. Published descriptions of sedimentary outcrops in Antarctica plus litho-paleogeographic plate reconstructions and consideration of the stratigraphy of the adjacent landmasses allow prediction of sediment age and lithology in the 13 basins. The sediments are predominantly clastic. The onshore basins contain some Paleozoic sediments but the offshore basins are anticipated to contain only Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediment. Five of the 13 basins are onshore and subglacial whereas eight are considered as offshore basins. Five of the offshore basins are accessible with today's exploration technology and of these, three are considered highly prospective for hydrocarbons. Preliminary exploration efforts are beginning in this truly virgin area and future development will be exciting to watch and, hopefully, participate in.

End_of_Article - Last_Page 998------------

Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists