Canadian Arctic Islands Project 2015-2017

This phase of research focused on three topics: the assessment of potential Late Cretaceous source rocks, the generation of a database of Cretaceous fossil occurrences and the tectonic evolution of the Sverdrup Basin. The sedimentology, biostratigraphy and source rock geochemistry of the Late Cretaceous Kanguk Formation was examined in a section from the centre of the Sverdrup Basin. Geochronological and geochemical analyses were also undertaken on a selection of bentonite samples, from both the basin centre (Expedition Fiord) and the eastern basin margin (Sawtooth Range). Together these analyses help to constrain the source rock potential and the timing of deposition of the Kanguk Formation, as well as the volcanic sources of the bentonites. A review combining CASP and published data was issued examining the palaeogeographic, tectonic and environmental conditions related to the deposition of Late Cretaceous source rocks in the offshore Amerasia Basin. The delivery of a GIS database of Cretaceous fossil occurrences in the Sverdrup Basin, containing 1900 CASP samples and 1750 literature records provides a robust biostratigraphic framework for the area. As for the tectonic evolution of the Sverdrup Basin, cross-sections and structural restorations based on new field data from Expedition Fiord, the Blue Mountains, Mount James and the Tanquary High, as well as data compiled from the literature, were constructed to constrain the timing and style of pre-Eurekan tectonic events. These revealed the occurrence of previously unidentified extensional fault activity, providing an extra element to consider in tectonic models for the opening of the Arctic Ocean and hydrocarbon exploration in the area.

Completed: June 2019.
Contact: Berta López Mir

Reports Issued in this Project