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Abstract

This chapter examines the petroleum potential of the sedimentary basins along the continental margins of the North American Plate in the Arctic Ocean region, including those beneath the continent itself and those beneath its fringing continental terraces. Basins within the Canadian Arctic Islands of North America and in the Baffin Bay regions are considered in other volumes of this series. The large petroleum potential of some of the sedimentary basins of the Arctic Ocean margin of the North American Plate, particularly those on the continental shelf, is already well established. The petroleum resource potential of the abyssal plains of the Arctic Ocean is poorly understood but is thought to represent only a minor portion of the total potential of the region.

The basins in the periphery of the Arctic Ocean Basin are mainly continental terrace wedges on foundered passive continental margins and successor basins on extended continental shelves. The Kronprins Christian Basin on the East Greenland Shelf is separated from European basins by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge north of Iceland (Fig. 1). The rest of the basins along the edge of the North American continent area, from east to west, are the Wandel Sea Basin in Greenland, the Lincoln Sea Basin, the various sub-basins of the Canadian Arctic Coastal Plain and Shelf, the Mackenzie Delta–Beaufort Sea Basin in Canada, and the Kaktovik Basin, the Demarcation Subbasin, the Dinkum Graben, and the Nuwuk Basin off Alaska. West of Alaska and north of Siberia the broad continental shelf contains upper Paleozoic-Mesozoic successor

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