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A structure contour map derived from interpretation of offshore seismic reflection profiles and onshore well control shows the configuration of the pre-Mesozoic age (crystalline) basement of the inner margin of the Baltimore Canyon trough (coastal plain and near offshore) from the Long Island platform to Cape Hatteras. Major structural features are north-south aligned grabens and half-grabens (rift basins) that contain probable Triassic-Jurassic age continental and lacustrine sedimentary rocks that were truncated and later onlapped by the sedimentary fill of the Baltimore Canyon trough. Other fault structures appear to be associated with the hinge zone of the Baltimore Canyon trough and its landward structural sag called the Chesapeake-Delaware embayment.
Many of the structural features of the basement are at depths shallow enough (< 20,000-25,000 ft, 6,100-7,500 m) to be tested by drilling. Closely spaced seismic-reflection profiling would be required to provide detail for locating petroleum prospects. Likely petroleum source beds are the lacustrine shales of the rift basins and, farther offshore, the more deeply buried organic carbon-rich shales in the sedimentary fill of the Baltimore Canyon trough. Potential structural-stratigraphic traps might be found within the rift basins. Petroleum prospects in the overlying section might include drape over basement highs, pinch-outs against basement, and growth fault structures controlled by basement faults.
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