Abstract

Sources of Tithonian–Albian sediment in the Scotian Basin are interpreted from detrital zircon geochronology to test previous hypotheses about the sources and pathways of sediment to thick deltaic successions that are important hydrocarbon reservoirs. Sediment provenance influences reservoir quality, but also provides information on tectonism during rifting of the North Atlantic Ocean. More than 760 zircons were dated by laser ablation U–Pb methods from nine offshore wells and one borehole on land and were characterized by external morphology, internal zoning, and Th/U ratio. A Meguma terrane source to the LaHave Platform was confirmed by peaks in detrital zircon abundance at 550–650 Ma, 1.0–1.2 Ga, and ∼2.1 Ga. Samples from the Sable Subbasin show a large peak in detrital zircon abundance at ∼1050 Ma, with lower peaks from 400–650, ∼1480, ∼1650, ∼1860 Ma and 2.7 Ga, characteristic of inboard Appalachian terranes of Laurentide affinity. Many late Paleozoic to Neoproterozoic zircons are euhedral or subhedral, and apparently first cycle, as are a few older zircons that indicate transport from the rising rift shoulder in southern Labrador as far north as the Makkovik Province (∼1860 Ma). About half the zircons are rounded and polycyclic. Samples from the Abenaki Subbasin are similar, but late Paleozoic to Neoproterozoic zircons are rare and ∼40% of the Mesoproterozoic zircons are subhedral, implying a different Laurentide source through the Humber valley. Euhedral–subhedral unzoned zircons yielded two groups of Cretaceous dates: ∼105 Ma from the Cree Member, and ∼120 Ma from the Missisauga Formation.

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