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Cretaceous-Tertiary Paleobathymetry of Labrador and Baffin Shelves, and Its Significance to Evolution of Labrador Sea

J. Helenes, F. Gradstein

The integrated micropaleontological and palynological analyses of 17 wells from offshore Labrador and southern Baffin Island allowed consistent assignments of biozones, ages, and depositional environments to the sections. Resolution attained is approximately at the stage level or finer.

Interpretation of the foraminifera and palynomorphs from the Labrador Shelf indicates that the depositional environments were mainly neritic during the Early and early Late Cretaceous, changed to bathyal during the Maastrichtian to late Eocene, and returned to neritic during the Oligocene to Miocene. The sections drilled on the Baffin Shelf do not include Cretaceous sediments, but indicate bathyal environments from Paleocene to early Eocene, and neritic to nonmarine environments from late Eocene to Miocene.

The Barremian to Campanian continental to neritic sediments from the Labrador Shelf correspond to the initial rifting phase of the Labrador-Greenland continental plate; whereas the Maastrichtian to late Eocene bathyal sediments correspond to the opening of the southern part of the Labrador Sea with the creation of oceanic crust. The Labrador Sea reached the Baffin shelf area during the Maastrichtian. The Oligocene to Miocene neritic to continental sediments of both the Labrador and Baffin Shelf areas correspond to the filling phase of the basin, with resulting buildup of the continental shelves and slopes.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91035©1988 AAPG-SEPM-SEG Pacific Sections and SPWLA Annual Convention, Santa Barbara, California, 17-19 April 1988.