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Landsat Linear Features and Incipient Rift System Model for the Origin of Base Metal and Petroleum Resources of Northern Alaska
Carboniferous aborted rift systems or aulacogens have been inferred or documented in the following areas of the circum Arctic: The Selwyn Basin (Morin, 1979; Carne, 1979; Templeman-Kluit, 1979); Sverdrup Basin (Sweeney, 1977); Peary Land, northern Greenland and James Land, east Greenland (Haller, 1969); Spitsbergen (Sokolov et al., 1973); and eastern Siberia (Bazanov et al., 1976; Fujita, 1978). Evidence for Carboniferous and Permian incipient rifting in the northern Brooks Range can be divided into four major classifications:
I. Sedimentary and igneous petrologic evidence
II. Gravity and magnetic evidence
III. Mineral deposit associations
IV. Presence of high-angle fault systems and orthogonal lineations
The existence of Carboniferous and upper Paleozoic graben structures and graben-initiated sedimentary basins in the Canadian Arctic Islands, Greenland, Spitsbergen and Siberia; the strong lithologic and paleontological similarities in the above Carboniferous sections; the great thickness of continental crust as evidenced by gravity and magnetic data; and the existence of aulacogen-related major Zn-Pb-Cu-Ag-Ba-F mineralisation provides strong evidence for a Carboniferous aborted rift system in northern Alaska and Canada.
Linear features have been interpreted from Landsat images covering most of Alaska including the north slope petroleum province and the Brooks Range. The linear data has been digitised and statistical analysis of the data indicate two major trends at 90 degrees. The northeast trend is parallel to the Colville Lineament along which recent oil and gas discoveries have been made.
Although late Mesozoic deformational style of the Brooks Range and north slope has been compressional, the presence of an older, pervasive, orthogonal linear pattern provides additional evidence for Carboniferous and Permian tensional tectonics in northern Alaska. It is proposed that the north slope petroleum province is a graben-generated sedimentary basin and that the basinal formation began in the Late Carboniferous or Early Permian.
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