The Nenana basin of interior Alaska forms a segment of the diffuse plate boundary between the Bering and North American plates and is located within a complex zone of crustal-scale strike-slip deformation that accommodates compressional stresses in response to oblique plate convergence to the south. The basin is currently the focus of new oil and gas exploration. Integration of seismic reflection and well data, fracture data, and apatite fission-track analyses with regional data improves our understanding of the tectonic development of this continental strike-slip basin. The Nenana basin formed during the Late Paleocene as a 13 km wide half-graben, affected by regional intraplate magmatism and localized crustal thinning across the Minto Fault in south-central Alaska. The basin was uplifted and exhumed along this faulted margin in the Early Eocene through to Late Oligocene in response to oblique subduction along the southern Alaska margin. This event resulted in the removal of up to 1.5 km of Late Paleocene strata from the basin. Renewed rifting and subsidence during the Early Miocene widened the basin to the west resulting in deposition of Miocene non-marine clastic rocks in reactivated and newly formed extensional half-grabens. In the Middle to Late Miocene, left lateral strike-slip faulting was superimposed on this half-graben system, with rapid subsidence beginning in the Pliocene and continuing to the present day. At present, the Nenana basin is in a zone of transtensional deformation that accommodates compressional stresses in response to oblique plate convergence and allows tectonic subsidence by oblique extension along major basin-bounding strike-slip faults.
Cenozoic tectonic and thermal history of the Nenana basin, central interior Alaska: new constraints from seismic reflection data, fracture history, and apatite fission-track analyses
Nilesh Dixit, Catherine Hanks, Alec Rizzo, Paul McCarthy, Bernard Coakley; Cenozoic tectonic and thermal history of the Nenana basin, central interior Alaska: new constraints from seismic reflection data, fracture history, and apatite fission-track analyses. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences ; 54 (7): 766–784. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2016-0197
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