The continental margin north of Alaska, as interpreted from seismic reflection profiles, is of the Atlantic type and consists of three sectors of contrasting structure and stratigraphy. The Chukchi sector, on the west, is characterized by the deep late Mesozoic and Tertiary North Chukchi basin and the Chukchi Continental Borderland. The Barrow sector of central northern Alaska is characterized by the Barrow arch and a moderately thick continental terrace build of Albian to Tertiary clastic sediment. The terrace sedimentary prism is underlain by lower Paleozoic metasedimentary rocks. The Barter Island sector of northeastern Alaska and Yukon Territory is inferred to contain a very thick prism of Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary marine and nonmarine clastic sediment. Its structure is dominated by a local deep Tertiary depocenter and two regional structural arches. We postulate that the distinguishing characteristics of the three sectors are inherited from the configuration of the rift that separated arctic Alaska from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago relative to old pre-rift highlands, which were clastic sediment sources. Where the rift lay relatively close to northern Alaska, in the Chukchi and Barter Island sectors, and locally separated Alaska from the old source terranes, thick late Mesozoic and Tertiary sedimentary prisms extend farther south beneath the continental shelf than in the intervening Barrow sector. The boundary between the Chukchi and Barrow sectors is relatively well defined by geophysical data, but the boundary between the Barrow and Barter Island sectors can only be inferred from the distribution and thickness of Jurassic and Cretaceous sedimentary rocks. These boundaries may be extensions of oceanic fracture zones related to the rifting that is postulated to have opened the Canada Basin, probably beginning during the Early Jurassic. ?? 1979.
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Geology and tectonic development of the continental margin north of Alaska