The Canadian and Alaskan Arctic is a significant hydrocarbon province, and as such comparatively well studied. Beyond its immediate, local significance, the rather well exposed onshore rock record of the area informs regional geology in two major aspects. Firstly, the sedimentary successions deposited in the Sverdrup Basin and beyond are valuable analogues for contemporary strata in adjacent, less well-explored and accessible parts of the Arctic. Secondly, characterising the evolution of the Arctic Canadian and Alaskan margin is key to the understanding of the opening of the Arctic Ocean and the palaeogeography of the Arctic region as a whole.
Map of Region
Besides extensive literature-based regional reviews, CASP has undertaken several expeditions to Ellesmere Island (1991, 2007–2015), Axel Heiberg Island (2007, 2014) and to mainland Arctic Canada (2016), to study the onshore Mesozoic succession of the Sverdrup Basin and the Anderson Plain. More than 60 reports produced from the collected data provide insight into the opening of the Arctic Ocean, the development of the Canadian-Alaskan margin, and the resource potential of these areas.
Major aspects of CASP’s studies include:
- Mesozoic and Cenozoic structural development of the Canadian Arctic Islands, with a focus on salt tectonics and the Eurekan Orogeny.
- Mesozoic sandstone provenance and its implications for Arctic palaeogeography.
- Mesozoic biostratigraphy, palaeoecology and depositional environments.
- Geochronology and geochemistry of Late Cretaceous volcanic ash beds and their significance for regional geology.
- Stratigraphy, depositional history, composition and source rock potential of Late Cretaceous oil-prone source rocks of the Kanguk Formation and equivalents.
Furthermore, a large sample dataset is available for commercial and academic study.
Active Research Projects
Most Recent Reports
- The Late Cretaceous Smoking Hills Formation source rock in the Anderson Basin: biostratigraphy and palaeoenvironment CASP.LCASR.1
- An expanded combined U-Pb age and Hf isotope dataset from bentonites of the Kanguk Formation, Sverdrup Basin CASP.LCASR.2
- U-Pb age and geochemistry of bentonites from Late Cretaceous strata of the Anderson Basin CASP.LCASR.3
- Understanding the distribution of Carboniferous-Triassic detrital zircons in Arctic Mesozoic strata CASP.CAPD2015-17.7
- Geological controls on source rock deposition in the Amerasia Basin during the Late Cretaceous CASP.CAI2015-17.20