Pai-Khoi Project 2015-2017

The Pai-Khoi Project is focussed on improving our understanding of the tectonic evolution of the Pai-Khoi fold-and-thrust belt and adjacent hydrocarbon basins; the Korotaikha and South Kara basins. Previous phases of the Pai-Khoi Project collected structural data that aided our understanding of the tectonic evolution of the Arctic Uralides, while sedimentological and provenance data suggested that the tectonic loading of the Pai-Khoi margin was initiated during the early Middle Triassic. If correct, the Permian successions of the Korotaikha and Kara basins, which flank the southwestern and northeastern sides of the Pai-Khoi Uplift, respectively, must have formed part of a single depositional basin prior to the formation of the fold and thrust belt. This phase of the project will build on the results of previous phases by attempting to correlate the stratigraphy, depositional environment and heavy mineral characteristics of Permian strata in the Kara and Korotaikha basins. The project will also investigate the tectonic boundaries of the Kara Basin with Pai-Khoi and the Polar Urals.

Main Objectives

Research will focus on the Kara Basin with two main themes: 1) understanding the Permian depositional system along the Pai-Khoi margin, 2) establishing the structural relationship of the Kara Basin to the Pai-Khoi Uplift and Polar Urals. This will be achieved by conducting geological traverses along the Talotayakha and Kara rivers in the northwestern and southeastern Kara Basin, respectively:

  • Sedimentology and depositional environment of Permian strata within the Kara Basin: Detailed sedimentological studies will be conducted along regionally important sections of early to mid-Permian strata. A stratigraphic correlation with the Korotaikha Basin will be made.
  • Sediment provenance studies: A multi-technique provenance analysis of Permian strata will be conducted, including heavy mineral single-grain chemistry (apatite, chrome-spinel, garnet), detrital U/Pb zircon and apatite, as well as, petrography. These data will enable better comparison with parallel CASP data sets from the Korotaikha Basin.
  • Structural geology of the NW Kara Basin: This will include the structural geometry and kinematics of deformed Permian strata, plus an assessment of the North Pai-Khoi Thrust (NPKT) which is inferred to tectonically juxtapose the Kara Basin and Pai-Khoi Uplift. This study will contribute to understanding how the Pai-Khoi fold and thrust belt accommodated the contrasting deformation histories of the Polar Urals and Novaya Zemlya.
  • Structural relationship between Pai-Khoi and Polar Urals: The southeastern part of the Kara Basin exhibits complex structural relationships between structures of Pai-Khoi and Polar Urals trend. Structural fieldwork along the Kara River will establish the spatial and temporal relationships of these structural trends which are critical for elucidating the tectonic evolution of the Polar Urals / Pai-Khoi sectors of the Arctic Uralides.
  • Thermal maturity and potential source rock evaluation: The Kara Basin lies on the upper plate side of the PKFB and is therefore likely to have experienced a different maturation history to the Korotaikha Basin (mid-Late Triassic foreland basin), where high levels of maturation are exhibited within the Permian foredeep sediments. The thermal maturity of strata in both the NW and SE Kara Basin will be assessed using RockEval and Vitrinite Reflectance. TOC analysis will be conducted on all potential source rocks.

Project length: 24 months from August 2015.
Contact: Mike Curtis

Reports Issued in this Project