In the Melville Bay area, offshore
northwest Greenland, very large structures and sedimentary basins, which
were predicted many years ago on the basis of magnetic and gravity data,
have been confirmed by a recent reconnaissance seismic survey, with implications
that are encouraging for petroleum exploration in the area.
The Melville Bay area flanks a small ocean
basin in Baffin Bay that is thought to have formed by oblique sea-floor
spreading in the Eocene. There are two major, coast-parallel basins in
the area. The inner basin, the Melville Bay Graben, is essentially
a half graben with a maximum thickness of
sediments exceeding 13 km. A complex fault-
controlled ridge system separates this basin
from the outer Kivioq Basin in which up to 7 km of sediments have accumulated.
By analogy with onshore geology in the surrounding
areas and well data from the continental shelves off southern west Greenland
and Labrador to the south, it is expected that the first phase of rifting
and sedimentation took place in the Early-middle Cretaceous, while a second
phase of rifting took place in the latest Cretaceous and early Paleocene.
Later, compression and inversion affected the northern part of the area,
leading to the formation of large anticlinal structures.
1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.
received January 30, 1996; revised manuscript received September 9, 1996;
final acceptance January 21, 1997.
Consulting Ltd., 1620 9th Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2M 3L4, Canada.
A/S, Pilestræde 52, DK-1112 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Thoravej 8, DK-2400 Copenhagen, Denmark.
wish to acknowledge the companies partaking in the KANUMAS project: BP,
Exxon, Japan National Oil Company, Shell, Statoil, and Texaco, for allowing
us the opportunity to publish this paper. Our thanks also to Rene Forsberg
and Simon Ekholm, National Survey and Cadastre, for processing the gravity
data for the paper, and to Alan Menelly (consultant) for discussions on
the structural development of the area. Airborne gravity data were made
available courtesy of John Brozena of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.