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Verzhbitsky, Vladimir E., Sergey D. Sokolov, Erling M. Frantzen, Alice Little, Marianna I. Tuchkova, and Leopold I. Lobkovsky, 2012, The South Chukchi Sedimentary Basin (Chukchi Sea, Russian Arctic): Age, structural pattern,and hydrocarbon potential, in D. Gao, ed., Tectonics and sedimentation: Implications for petroleum systems: AAPG Memoir 100, p. 267290.


Copyright copy2012 by The American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

The South Chukchi Sedimentary Basin (Chukchi Sea, Russian Arctic): Age, Structural Pattern, and Hydrocarbon Potential

Vladimir E. Verzhbitsky,1 Sergey D. Sokolov,2 Erling M. Frantzen,3 Alice Little,4 Marianna I. Tuchkova,5 Leopold I. Lobkovsky6

1Gazpromneft Science and Technology Center, 5A Galernaya St., Saint-Petersburg, 190000 Russia (e-mail: [email protected]) Previous Address: TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company Moscow, Donskaya St. 4, Bldg. 3, Moscow, Russia
2Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, 7 Pyzhevsky Ln., Moscow, 119017 Russia (e-mail: [email protected])
3TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA, Hagalokkveien 13, N-1383 Asker, Norway (e-mail: [email protected])
4Aker Solutions, Lagerveien 30, NO-4033 Stavanger, Norway (e-mail:[email protected]) Previous address: TGS Geological Products and Services, Professor Olav Hanssensvei 7A, PO Box 8034, M-4068 Stavanger, Norway.
5Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, 7 Pyzhevsky Lane, Moscow, Russia (e-mail: [email protected]).
6Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 36 Nahimovskiy Ave., Moscow, 117997 Russia (e-mail: [email protected])


We thank TGS for providing the opportunity to use the proprietary seismic data in our research. The participants of the International Geological Expedition on northern Chukotka and Wrangel Island in 2006 are grateful to the staff of the Wrangel National Reserve for their help in the fieldwork. We thank our colleagues from the expedition, E. Miller and V. Pease, for their kind help and assistance in the fieldwork. We thank V. Khain, S. Drachev, N. Malyshev, V. Obmetko, A. Borodulin, B. Ikhsanov, A. Khudoley, M. Kopp, and O. Kurakina for their comments and suggestions during preparation of the manuscript. J. Toro, D. Pivnik, and D. Gao provided thorough peer reviews that helped improve the quality of the manuscript. The authors from the Russian Academy of Sciences (Sergey Sokolov, Marianna Tuchkova, and Leopold Lobkovsky) were supported by Program 9 of the Department of Earth Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grants 11-05-00074 and 11-05-00787), the Leading Scientific Schools (NSh-5177.2012.5), and the state contract programs 14.740.11.0190 and Plate-Tectonic Reconstructions and Stress-State Model of the Lithosphere of Arctic region.


The South Chukchi Basin separates the late Mesozoic Chukotka Fold Belt from the Wrangel Arch and represents the northwestern continuation of the Hope Basin of the United States sector of the Chukchi Sea, which is filled with middle Eocene–Quaternary nonmarine, marine, and lacustrine rocks. The main stages of South Chukchi Basin development in the Cenozoic are comparable to those of the Hope Basin, although the analysis of onshore data from Chukotka and Wrangel Island points to the beginning of sedimentation during the Aptian–Albian–Late Cretaceous. In the South Chukchi Basin, the sediment thickness seldom exceeds 3 to 4 km (1.9–2.5 mi) but can locally reach 5 to 6 km (3.1–3.7 mi). The geometry of the faults indicates an extensional and/or transtensional setting for the South Chukchi Basin, although folds, reverse and thrust faults, pop-up and positive flower structures also occur, pointing to the local development of compressional and transpressional stress. Low-angle thrust faults predating the Aptian(?)–Paleogene extension (most likely of Late Jurassic–Neocomian age) are recognized at the base of the South Chukchi Basin. This could support the idea that the extension in the basin was driven by gravitational collapse of the Wrangel-Herald-Lisburne fold and thrust belt in the post-Neocomian. Based on the interpretation of new seismic data and analysis of published material, we believe that the hydrocarbon potential of the South Chukchi Basin may be significantly higher than what has been previously suggested.

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