Basin evolution in southern East Greenland: An outcrop analog for Cretaceous-Paleogene basins on the North Atlantic volcanic margins

Michael Larsen, Lars Hamberg, Snorre Olaussen, Niels Nørgaard-Pedersen, Lars Stemmerik

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48 Citations (Scopus)


The Cretaceous-Paleogene Kangerlussuaq basin in southern East Greenland represents a unique outcrop analog for the frontier petroleum provinces along the deep-water volcanic margins of the northern North Atlantic. The 1-km-thick sedimentary succession comprises six facies associations: (1) alluvial plain and shallow marine (late Aptian?), (2) fluvio-estuarine (late Aptian-early Albian), (3) offshore marine (Late Cretaceous-early Paleocene), (4) submarine fan and channel-levee (early Paleocene), (5) fluvial (mid-Paleocene), and (6) volcanic (late Paleocene). Sedimentation was terminated in the late Paleocene by extrusion of flood basalts related to continental breakup. The basin fill is divided into two depositional megasequences related to regional tectonic events and sea level changes. The oldest megasequence (SQ1) spans the late Aptian to the earliest Paleocene with sea level rise in the late Aptian and maximum flooding in the late Albian-Cenomanian, followed by sea level highstand in the Late Cretaceous-early Paleocene. SQ1 is truncated by a basin-wide unconformity related to regional uplift and basin reorganization in the mid-Paleocene. The upper megasequence (SQ2) spans the mid- to late Paleocene and comprises sediments deposited during early sea level rise. Extensive volcanic deposits and continental flood basalts overlie it. Deep burial (> 6 km) and middle Eocene-early Oligocene(?) uplift excludes the Kangerlussuaq basin as a petroleum basin in itself; however, to evaluate the petroleum potential of similar volcanic influenced offshore basins, such as the West Shetland, Faeroe, More, and Voring basins, we discuss three conceptual play models based on the Kangerlussuaq basin: (1) early Albian stratigraphic trap, (2) early Paleocene structural trap, and (3) Paleocene stratigraphic trap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1236-1261
Number of pages26
JournalAAPG Bulletin
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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