Basin seismic stratigraphy and aspects of prospectivity in the NE Baffin Bay, Northwest Greenland

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Subsurface mapping in the northeastern part of Baffin Bay, offshore Northwest Greenland indicates the presence of large basement structures and sedimentary basins. We identify eight seismic-stratigraphic units that can be genetically related to the regional geology and tectonic development. The seismic interpretation includes the top of Paleocene to Eocene volcanic rocks, which cover most parts of the southern and western study area. Using this horizon as a time marker, the seismic units are divided into pre-Cenozoic and Palaeogene to Neogene strata based on comparison to equivalent units exposed onshore West Greenland and Canada and sampled by exploration wells farther south in the Disko West/offshore Nuuk region. Our interpretation of the faults and tectonic elements suggest that the main extensional faults and basin formation took place mainly during the Cretaceous and into the Paleocene. Subsequent compressional tectonics and inversion were accompanied by strike-slip faulting and local transtensional faults and flexures. This last phase of deformation corresponds to the well documented Eurekan Orogeny in Ellesmere Island and northern Greenland that developed as a result of northward motion and possible counterclockwise rotation of Greenland relative to the North American plate. We surmise that these tectonic phases exerted a strong control on basin infill by activation of hinterland sediment sources during Cretaceous and Palaeogene times. The deep basins may include Cretaceous and Palaeogene organic-rich sediments with hydrocarbon source potential. We estimate that maturation could have started during the Eocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • Baffin Bay
  • Northwest Greenland
  • Prospectivity
  • Seismic stratigraphy

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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