The areal extent of the ice covered Arctic Ocean is about four times the size of the Mediterranean Sea. More than 50 years after identification of the main bathymetric features in the deep polar basin, our coverage of modern multichannel seismic data is still limited to what a single ship would complete under open-ocean conditions in about two and a half months. In addition, an estimated one-fifth of the deepwater area is inaccessible to icebreaker surveys with surface-towed equipment. Signal-to-noise levels achieved in multichannel seismic data acquisition from icebreakers are sufficient to identify acoustic basement below more than 3 s (two-way travel time) of sediments in spite of reduced source and receiver arrays. Our current reconnaissance stage in deep basin exploration will at least include the coming decade as surveys by diesel-driven icebreakers are largely restricted by contemporary patterns of open leads in the sea ice cover.
Figures & Tables
The vast Arctic region contains nine proven petroleum provinces with giant resources but over half of the sedimentary basins are completely undrilled, making the region the last major frontier for conventional oil and gas exploration. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the geology and the petroleum potential of the Arctic. Nine papers offer a circum-Arctic perspective on the Phanerozoic tectonic and palaeogeographic evolution, the currently recognized sedimentary basins, the gravity and magnetic fields and, perhaps most importantly, the petroleum resources and yet-to-find potential of the basins. The remaining 41 papers provide data-rich, geological and geophysical analyses and individual oil and gas assessments of specific basins throughout the Arctic. These detailed and well illustrated studies cover the continental areas of Laurentia, Baltica and Siberia and the Arctic Ocean. Of special interest are the 13 papers providing new data and interpretations on the extensive, little known, but promising, basins of Russia.
A DVD is provided inside the back of the book, that contains PDFs of all papers plus all related Supplementary Publications.