Abstract

The Fort Norman area is marked by a complex structural and depositional history with temporally and spatially variable temperature and maturity gradients. Maturity of the Middle Devonian Canol – Hare Indian unit indicates two terrains of markedly different paleotemperatures and thermal gradients, roughly coinciding with the Palaeozoic Keele Arch (north) and Root Basin (south), with a sharp transition (lateral discontinuity) between them. Maturity of the unconformably overlying Cretaceous to early tertiary section is lower and laterally continuous across the entire study area, showing no relation to the sub-Cretaceous structures. The vertical maturity profile in the southern terrain is unique in that two discontinuous segments record markedly different thermal histories, neither of which is related to present burial conditions. Maturity of the Devonian formations was established some time prior to the sub-Cretaceous erosion, whereas that in the Cretaceous to Tertiary section postdates Palaeocene but predates a major part of the later Tertiary deformation and erosion. In contrast, the continuous maturity profile recorded in the northern terrain reflects a significant effect of the Tertiary thermal conditions, indicating much lower thermal gradients in the Keele Arch than in the Root Basin during the early phase of maturation. Along with the structural pattern and sedimentary history, the striking differences indicated in the thermal gradients between the Root Basin and the Keele Arch suggest a strike-slip-related pull-apart or another stretching mechanism for the Root Basin in contrast to the compression in the Keele Arch. In addition to the characterization of the regional thermal history and its variation with time, the maturity pattern obtained allows some estimate to be made of the thickness of the eroded section and timing of the major erosional phases.

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