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Abstract

Baffin Fan is a 12 km-thick sedimentary wedge of Eocene to Pleistocene age in northwestern Baffin Bay, with size and resource potential comparable to Beaufort–Mackenzie Basin. A widespread Moho detachment originating in Mesoproterozoic strata may have influenced development of Cretaceous–Palaeogene horst blocks and half-grabens throughout the region, and their transformation by later phases of inversion. Reflection profiles indicate 12 depositional sequences in lower Palaeozoic and Cretaceous to Pleistocene strata. Notable is syntectonic sedimentation with possible volcanism and rifting in the Cretaceous–Danian. Sequences associated with inversion in the later Paleocene and Eocene display out-of-graben thrust anticlines formed over horst blocks in Lady Ann and Lancaster Sound basins. The Oligocene to mid-Miocene is associated with fluvial–deltaic systems, replaced since then by glacial–interglacial sequences including submarine canyons and deepwater fans. Exploration targets are located in Lancaster Sound, and a Baffin Bay fairway that runs 220 km northwestward to east of Coburg Island. Sixty-five per cent of prospects are located under Neogene cover. Fourteen are each greater than 70 km2, and five are between 334 and 592 km2. Based on drilling success rates elsewhere and the existence of a petroleum system, 12 of the 40 mapped structures may contain hydrocarbons in significant quantity.

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