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Paleogeographic Reconstructions of the Circum-Arctic Region Since the Late Jurassic

Christopher Scotese
PALEOMAP Project, U. Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX.

We present 5 paleogeographic maps describing the distribution of mountains, lowlands, shallow seas and deep ocean basins in the Circum-Arctic region during the Late Jurassic (160 Ma), Early Cretaceous (140 Ma), Late Cretaceous (90 Ma), Eocene (50 Ma), and Early Miocene (20 Ma). These maps are part of a set of 30 paleogeographic reconstructions that describe the development of the Circum-Arctic Region from the Late Jurassic to the present-day. These paleogeographic maps are based on a plate tectonic model for the Arctic produced by the PALEOMAP Project. This ArcGIS model (PaleoGIS) describes the plate tectonic evolution of the North Atlantic, Eurasia and Makarov Basins, Canada Basin, Canadian Cordillera, South-Central Alaska, Northeast Siberia, and the North Pacific. The plate tectonic model provided the framework upon which a 3D digital elevation model was constructed for each timeslice. A paleo-digital elevation model (PaleoDEM) is a quantitative description of topographic and bathymetric features that describes the evolution of the seafloor, the tectonic development of island arcs and back-arc basins, the subsidence of lowland areas, and the uplift and erosion of mountain ranges. Each "pixel" in the PaleoDEM represents a 10 km x 10 km square on the map. Vertical resolution is 40 m. Both the plate tectonic model and the paleogeographic maps are important tools for understanding the evolution of sedimentary basins and the development of hydrocarbon systems in the Circum-Arctic Region. The 3D paleogeographic models also provides a framework for further paleoclimatic and paleooceanographic modeling. A computer animation will be shown that summarizes the important plate tectonic and paleogeographic events in the Circum-Arctic Region since the Late Jurassic.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90130©2011 3P Arctic, The Polar Petroleum Potential Conference & Exhibition, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 30 August-2 September, 2011.