Abstract

Apatite fission track and 40Ar/39Ar age spectrum data from sandstone drill-core minerals taken from depths of 2–5 km in nine wells from the Scotian Basin are presented and interpreted in terms of the thermal history of the basin and the provenance of its sediments. The focus of the study is a comparison of the data from these thermochronometers with each other and with previously published vitrinite reflectance and aromatization–isomerization (A–I) reactions in biomarker compounds from the same or nearby wells.Apatite fission track ages are generally in agreement with expectations in that they trend to zero at a depth of ~4 km (corrected bottom-hole temperature ~120 °C). Shallower (lower present temperature) samples are partially annealed; the degree of partial annealing correlates closely with the degree of A–I reactions. Both thermal indicators are activated over the temperature range 60–120 °C.Samples from two wells, Mic Mac J-77 and Erie D-26, are anomalous. They are more annealed than present formation temperatures would predict, an anomaly that is also indicated by the A–I data. These samples are interpreted as having experienced higher than present temperatures subsequent to deposition, possibly resulting from the passage of hot fluids related to localized volcanism or the sudden venting of an overpressured reservoir.K-feldspars record minor (< 20%) argon loss as a result of burial heating in the basin only at the greatest depths of the sampled range (> 4.3 km). This result is in agreement with the thermal models of the Scotian Basin and extrapolation of the A–I and fission track data to greater depths. The inferred argon loss implies an activation energy of 40 ± 4 kcal/mol for the smallest diffusion domains.The argon age spectra for samples that have not lost argon during residence in the basin provide evidence on the provenance of the sediments. K-feldspars from the Early Cretaceous Missisauga Formation have spectra that are similar to those obtained from K-feldspars from the Grenville Province of the Canadian Shield, whereas muscovites from the same formation give Cambrian to Carboniferous argon ages (mean 387 Ma), an indication of contributions from other source rocks. Corresponding data from the Jurassic Mohican Formation are similar to those reported for plutons from the southern Nova Scotia mainland (ca. 250–350 Ma argon ages). By implication, the Mohican Formation, which is the earliest postrift deposit, was derived from local sources inferred to be adjacent flank uplifts, whereas the Missisauga Formation was derived in part either directly or indirectly from the Grenvillian-aged interior of eastern Canada.

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