Tom Brent1, Christopher Harrison2, Zhuoheng Chen1, Lisel Currie1, Kirk Osadetz1, and Gordon N. Oakey3
1Geological Survey of Canada - Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
2Geological Survey of Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
3Geological Survey of Canada - Atlantic, Darmouth, NS, Canada.
Baffin Bay evolved from a multiple phase rift and drift separation of the North American and Greenland tectonic plates beginning in late Cretaceous time. Several marginward waterways of Baffin Bay on the Canadian side might be considered "failed rifts" and presently contain a potentially significant distribution of Cretaceous and younger sedimentary fill and geologic structure which is largely known only from 1970s industry seismic surveys. No wells exist in this region but hydrocarbon prospectivity is thought to be high, as drawn from analogs of both West Greenland and worldwide basins with similar geologic setting.
Existing geoscientific interpretations and datasets including those of satellite-inferred slick-like features, seismically-mapped structure, earthquake locations, and previously inferred petroleum seeps are considered with a suite of new observations interpreted on seismic records and detailed bathymetric imaging, and considered as direct and indirect indicators of hydrocarbons. An examination of originally processed and re-displayed seismic data reveal examples of energy cross-cutting shallow dipping geologic reflectors, vertical and horizontal seismic amplitude “blanking”, mounded sea bed structures associated with both seismic velocity “pull-ups” and deeper discontinuous high-amplitude reflectors. These phenomenon are consistent with an interpretation of gas hydrate, active gas chimneys, and gas/fluid vents capped with methanogenic carbonate. Seismic observation of deeper horizontal energy cross-cutting primary geologic reflectors across a specific panel of strata, within a mapped structural closure, may be a direct indication of conventional hydrocarbons arising from a petroleum contact or Type II gas hydrates, although other explanations are possible including a flat-lying digenetic boundary.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90130©2011 3P Arctic, The Polar Petroleum Potential Conference & Exhibition, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 30 August-2 September, 2011.