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Triassic history of the Tanquary High in NE Sverdrup Basin, Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Ashton Embry
Ashton Embry
Geological Survey of Canada–Calgary, 3303 33 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2L 2A7, Canada
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Publication history
01 May 201815 October 2018


The Tanquary High is a positive tectonic feature that was identified on the southern margin of the far northeastern portion of Sverdrup Basin. A sequence stratigraphic analysis of the Triassic succession of northern Ellesmere Island, involving 27 measured sections and one well section, has allowed the geometry and evolution of the high in the Triassic to be elucidated. The Triassic succession occurs within five second-order sequences, and each sequence boundary reflects the occurrence of a tectonic episode that included basin margin uplift and basinward movement of the shoreline.

The Tanquary High was uplifted during these tectonic episodes, which occurred in the latest Permian, latest Early Triassic, latest Middle Triassic, latest Carnian, and latest Norian. Each sequence is truncated toward the crest of the high where Rhaetian strata now overlie Cambrian strata. Isopach and facies data for each sequence reveal that, at the times of maximum uplift of the Tanquary High, the subaerially exposed part of the high extended 100–150 km down its northwest-trending axis and up to 150–200 km down each flank. Rapid subsidence completed each tectonic episode and initiated the development of a new sequence. The Tanquary High was completely drowned at these times. It is hypothesized that the tectonic episodes were generated by changes in horizontal stress fields driven by plate tectonic reorganizations.

The facies and isopach maps of the latest Triassic to early Early Jurassic (Rhaetian-Sinemurian) second-order sequence demonstrate that the Tanquary High ceased to exist following the first order, latest Norian sequence boundary. A complete reversal of source areas and the initiation of the Amerasia rift basin coincided with the demise of the Tanquary High.

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GSA Special Papers

Circum-Arctic Structural Events: Tectonic Evolution of the Arctic Margins and Trans-Arctic Links with Adjacent Orogens

Geological Society of America
ISBN electronic:




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