Probable rift origin of the Canada basin, Arctic Ocean

Open-File Report 73-274

This report is preliminary and has not been edited or reviewed for conformity with Geological Survey standards



Formation of the Canada basin by post-Triassic rifting seems the most workable and logical hypothesis with information available. Speculated counterclockwise rotation of the Alaska-Chukchi continental edge best rationalizes the complex geology of northern Alaska, whereas a single continental block before the Jurassic makes the best palinspastic fit for Arctic America. The Arctic Ocean is the focus of present-day spreading and probably was the focus of earlier stages of spreading in which spread of the Canada basin would be an initial stage. If the Atlantic formed by seafloor spreading, spread of the Canada basin is probable because analogies between the Arctic and Atlantic edges indicate a common origin for the ocean basins. Late Cretaceous and younger deflections of the Cordillera in the Arctic and diabasic emplacements in the northern Arctic Islands may reflect later stages of spreading. Pre-Mesozoic plate tectonism may be represented by the widespread Proterozoic diabasic emplacements in the Canadian Arctic and by the Franklinian-Innuitian tract where the volcanogenic rocks and deformation resulted not from a classical eugeosyncline-miogeosyncline couple but from the junction of a mid-Paleozoic continental edge and another plate on closure of a pre-Arctic Ocean.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Probable rift origin of the Canada basin, Arctic Ocean
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Office of National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska
7 leaves (2 p. per leaf) :maps ;27 cm.; 14 p.
Other Geospatial:
Canada Basin;Arctic Ocean