To assess the area's hydrocarbon potential, regional geologic and geophysical studies are being conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey to determine the structural framework of the United Slates Atlantic outer continental shelf (AOCS) north of Cape Hatteras. Preliminary interpretations of geophysical data suggest that the buried ridge under the eastern edge of the AOCS in the Baltimore Canyon trough area is deeper and farther west than previously suspected. Although it is not observed under the seaward extension of the Cape Fear arch, this ridge can be traced from the south side of the Baltimore Canyon trough northeastward toward the eastern edge of the Georges Bank trough. In the Baltimore Canyon trough area, the ridge seems to be fault controlled and to form the eastern edge of a Mesozoic depocenter in which approximately 12 km of relatively undisturbed post-Paleozoic sediments accumulated. Below a depth of 6 km, rocks previously considered to be crystalline basement instead may be carbonate and/or evaporite sequences of Jurassic age or older which overlie an even deeper crystalline basement. More than 8 km of sediments are present beneath the continental shelf on Georges Bank. The preliminary regional geophysical studies indicate that thick marine sedimentary sections and geologic structures favorable for the accumulation of petroleum apparently exist under the AOCS off the northeastern part of the United States.
Additional Publication Details
Structural framework of United States Atlantic outer continental shelf north of Cape Hatteras
American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)