The genetic evolution of Arctic North America and Greenland and implications for petroleum systems
S. Creaney, M. A. Sullivan, 2011. "The genetic evolution of Arctic North America and Greenland and implications for petroleum systems", Arctic Petroleum Geology, Anthony M. Spencer, Ashton F. Embry, Donald L. Gautier, Antonina V. Stoupakova, Kai Sørensen
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The sedimentary basins of Arctic North America and Greenland are diverse in their genesis. This diversity controls petroleum systems within these basins as well as their exposure to post-accumulation destructive forces. The Canadian Shield has been a significant influence on basin development due to its 60 km thick core of well-annealed, highly buoyant continental crust. This large, stable craton facilitated the deposition of multiple Early Palaeozoic source rocks and resisted subsequent collisions which could have been destructive to petroleum systems. The Ellesmerian collision quickly segregated the Sverdrup Basin from the Franklinian platform. The Ellesmerian–Caledonian suture attempted to rift numerous times. These failed rifts were conducive to source rock accumulation with lacustrine and marine (Kimmeridgian) sources being deposited. Opening of the Arctic Basin in the Early Cretaceous provided a restricted locus for the deposition of high organic carbon sediments throughout the Cretaceous. The movement of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province from the Arctic in the Cretaceous into the North Atlantic drove rifting to the east side of Greenland. Cenozoic opening of the Atlantic, with abundant associated volcanism, propagated into the Arctic with the opening of the Eurasian Basin. Atlantic rifting drove Greenland into the Sverdrup Basin producing the Eurekan Orogeny which initiated maturation and trap formation as well as some trap breaching. Pacific subduction generated the Western Cordillera and the Brooks Range. Associated forelands began to be rapidly loaded with Cretaceous–Cenozoic sediment driving all source rocks into maturity. The Cenozoic draining of the continent produced the Mackenzie Delta, which entered an inside corner of the transform rift margin and has been constantly ‘forced’ by ongoing Cordilleran tectonics, resulting in significant trap rupture in the Western Mackenzie Delta. Cenozoic deltaic sediments contain ‘coaly’ source rocks responsible for the offshore petroleum systems in that area.