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Federal OSC lease sale 92, North Aleutian shelf, Alaska, is scheduled for April 1985. The area, located in the southeastern Bering Sea, has 3 basins with sedimentary thicknesses in excess of 4 km.
Six geologic conditions that could cause problems during petroleum development are: (1) seismicity, (2) recent faulting, (3) gas-charged sediment, (4) bed forms and active sediment transport, (5) scours, and (6) volcanism.
Since 1953, the region has a history of at least 10 shallow earthquakes, including a 1971 back-arc event with a Richter magnitude of 5.2. The largest event impacting the entire region, a Richter magnitude 8.7 earthquake, occurred in 1938. Normal faults are located along the southern edge of the St. George basin, and on the northeastern edge of the Amak basin. Many exhibit increased offset with depth, surficial sags, and small surficial cracks. Surprising was the absence of any evidence of sea-floor sediment instability. "Sonar bright spots," and possible, near-surface gas-charged sediment occur west of Amak Island and north of Unimak Island. An area of megaripples and dunes covers more than 1,500 km2. Bed forms have spacings of 20-50 m and heights of 1-3 m. Observations sug est that coarse sand may be actively transported. Thousands of scours, many linear and parallel, some greater than 800 m long, 250 m wide, and incised up to 5 m, were identified. Pavlof, an Alaskan Peninsula active volcano, located 45 km northeast of Cold Bay, has a continuous history of steam release and occasional eruption. Lahars, nuee ardentes, and other volcanogenic activities are possible, but their probabilities are unknown. None of the geologic conditions identified precludes petroleum development or production. The potential impact of these factors must, however, be included in planning for future petroleum activities.
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