Abstract Formation of the Canada basin by post-Triassic rifting seems the most workable and logical hypothesis on the basis of available information. Speculated counterclockwise rotation of the Alaska-Chukchi continental edge best rationalizes the complex geology of northern Alaska, whereas the assumption that a single continental block was present before the Jurassic makes the best palinspastic fit for Arctic America.
The Arctic Ocean is the focus of present-day spreading and probably was the focus of earlier stages of spreading in which spread of the Canada basin would have been an initial stage. Spread of the Canada basin is probable if the Atlantic formed by sea-floor spreading, because analogies between the Arctic and Atlantic edges indicate a common origin for the ocean basins.
Late Cretaceous and younger deflections of the cordillera in the Arctic and diabasic emplacements in the northern Arctic Islands may reflect later stages of spreading. Pre-Mesozoic plate tectonism may be represented by the widespread Proterozoic diabasic emplacements in the Canadian Arctic and by the Franklinian-lnnuitian tract, where the volcanogenic rocks and deformation resulted not from a classical eugeosyncline-miogeosyncline couple, but from the junction of a mid-Paleozoic continental edge and another plate on closure of a pre-Arctic Ocean.
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Following the discovery of Prudhoe Bay oil field in 1968, much attention was turned to the Arctic in the search for giant hydrocarbon accumulations. The Soviets had already proved giant reserves in their West Siberian Basin, and exploration was moving ahead quickly in the Canadian Arctic. Plans were drawn up for an AAPG Symposium on Arctic Geology and held in February 1971. Papers were selected from the Symposium for this publication and cover seven topical groupings: Regional Arctic Geology of Canada, Regional Arctic Geology of the Nordic Countries, Regional Arctic Geology of the USSR, Regional Arctic Geology of Alaska, Comparisons in the North Atlantic Borders, Evolution of the Arctic Ocean Basin, and Economics of Petroleum Exploration and Production in the Arctic.