Abstract

Palynomorphs and graptolites from Paleozoic strata in western Newfoundland are examined and correlated with previously published data to identify fossils which are characteristic of proven and suspected source rocks. Measurements of colour alteration of acritarchs and spores (acritarch alteration index and thermal alteration index), random graptolite reflectance, and vitrinite reflectance are applied to determine regional thermal maturation and burial history. General trends of increasing maturity from south to north along the Northen Peninsula and from west to east across the Port au Port Peninsula are observed. Within these general trends, a more detailed distribution of thermal maturities can be recognized. In the south, Upper Ordovician rocks of the Long Point Group, western Port au Port Peninsula, exhibit the lowest maturity values found in western Newfoundland and are considered immature or marginally mature. Middle Ordovician rocks of the Goose Tickle and Table Head groups and the Lower Ordovician St. George Group are marginally mature. Cambrian strata on the Port au Port Peninsula are mature. Maturation levels increase to the east; Goose Tickle Group black shales in the vicinity of Black Cove, east of Port au Port, are mature. Equivalent sediments extending for another 15-20 km to the east lie within the oil window. Beyond that area, the equivalent rocks are overmature. The best potential source rocks belonging to the allochthonous Cow Head Group contain abundant acritarchs and Gloeocapsamorpha sp. These rocks are marginally mature to mature within Gros Morne National Park; maturation levels increase farther north (e.g., Parsons Pond), becoming overmature somewhere south of Port au Choix. It is concluded that neither the allochthonous Ordovician rocks presently exposed in Gros Morne nor the autochthonous strata exposed on the Port au Port Peninsula have ever been covered by significant thicknesses of overburden (probably 3 km or less), either in the form of structural slices or other sedimentary units since their original deposition.

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