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Abstract

Three new regional 2D seismic surveys in the Beaufort Sea provide a broad, deeper view of basins and crustal structure of the Meso-Cenozoic Canadian Arctic passive margin. The seismic profiles cover 16 270 km from inner shelf to over 2000 m water depth and include areas previously unsurveyed due to sea-ice limits. The surveys cover offshore Mackenzie Delta and extend north to Latitude 74°N off Banks Island. Geological interpretation is tied to exploratory wells in the Beaufort–Mackenzie Basin that has yielded 48 oil and gas discoveries in Cretaceous–Oligocene sandstones. The entire Meso-Cenozoic passive margin wedge beyond the depocentre ties into this established petroleum system. Three segments of the margin are defined by orientation and structural styles, from typical passive margin geometry to wrench structures to a compressional foldbelt superposed on the western segment. Outboard seismic profiles image oceanic crust and the inferred extinct spreading centre of the Canada Basin. The continent–ocean boundary is interpreted using gravity data supported by deep seismic reflectors. The regional deep imaging of the tectonic architecture, structural sequence and tectonostratigraphy of each segment are major results, and advance the understanding of the geological framework of known and potential petroleum basins of the Arctic margin of Canada.

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