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Incipient Rift Zone, Western Sverdrup Basin, Arctic Canada
Normal faults, linear magnetic anomalies, gabbro dikes, aligned evaporite domes, and modern earthquake epicentres define a broad tectonic belt in upper Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks of western Sverdrup Basin. From Melville Island, at the southern margin of the basin, the belt strikes northeastward, toward the continental margin, at northern Ellef Ringnes Island.
The age and geometry of the structural elements indicate that the belt represents a long-lasting domain of crustal dilation, as an incipient rift in the northern margin of the craton. Fracture systems, developed from dilation along the belt, could have served as conduits for migrating hydrocarbons, contributing to large natural gas accumulations at Sabine Peninsula, King Christian Island, and western Ellef Ringnes Island, and oil and gas under the offshore regions between the islands.
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