Abstract

U–Pb ages of zircon from bentonites within the upper Cretaceous Bastion Ridge and Kanguk formations, Sverdrup Basin, provide constraints on sedimentation rates, biostratigraphic correlations, timing of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) in the High Arctic, and the late magmatic history of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP). A late Cenomanian to early Turonian age for the base of the Kanguk Formation is confirmed that supports correlations of the global OAE2 in the High Arctic. Sedimentation rates varied from 19 m Ma−1 between 93 and 91 Ma to 26 m Ma−1 between 91 and 83 Ma at Axel Heiberg Island. At Ellef Ringnes Island, the lower Kanguk Formation records high rates of ~70 m Ma−1 between 94 and 93 Ma, which decrease to rates comparable to those of the upper Axel Heiberg section. Differences in sedimentation rates may reflect differences in setting prior to the major transgression in the latest Cenomanian to early Turonian. The timing of Arctic occurrences of the Scaphites nigricollensis and Scaphites depressus ammonite zones is shown to be broadly comparable to that of lower-latitude occurrences within the Western Interior Seaway. An eruption frequency of 0.5–2.5 Ma characterizes the late alkaline phase of HALIP magmatism. Volcanic bed thicknesses of 10–50 cm suggest ash transport distances of less than 1000 km. Long-lived volcanic centres, in the area of the Alpha Ridge, northern Ellesmere Island or northern Greenland, were the likely source of volcanic ash over a period of 10–15 Ma.

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