Lithologies of the basement complex (Devonian and older) in the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska

SEPM Core Workshop Notes
Edited by: David W. Houseknecht



Rocks of the basement complex (Devonian and older) were encountered in at least 30 exploratory wells in the northern part of the NPRA. Fine-grained, variably deformed sedimentary rocks deposited in a slope or basinal setting predominate and include varicolored (mainly red and green) argillite in the Simpson area, dark argillite and chert near Barrow, and widespread gray argillite. Chitinozoans of Middle-Late Ordovician and Silurian age occur in the dark argillite and chert unit. Sponge spicules and radiolarians establish a Phanerozoic age for the varicolored and gray argillite units, both of which contain local interbeds of chert-rich sandstone and silt-stone. Conglomerate and sandstone, also chert-rich but interbedded with mudstone and coal and of Early-Middle Devonian age, occur in the Topagoruk area; these strata formed in a fluvial environment. At East Teshekpuk, granite of probable Devonian age was penetrated. Brecciated, quartz-veined rock of uncertain protolith that may be part of the basement complex was encountered in the Ikpikpuk well. Seismic data indicate that angular unconformities truncate all sedimentary units of the basement complex in NPRA. Rocks correlative in age and lithofacies with the dark argillite and chert unit occur in the subsurface near Prudhoe Bay. Other argillite units in NPRA have similarities to basement rocks in the subsurface adjacent to ANWR and the Ordovician-Silurian Iviagik Group at Cape Lisburne, but lack the interbedded limestones found in the ANWR strata, and are less metamorphosed than, and compositionally distinct from, the Iviagik. The Topagoruk conglomerate and the East Teshekpuk granite resemble the Ulungarat formation and the Okpilak batholith, respectively, in the northeastern Brooks Range.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Lithologies of the basement complex (Devonian and older) in the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska
Series title SEPM Core Workshop Notes
DOI 10.2110/cor.01.01.0201
Volume 21
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher Society for Sedimentary Geology
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 201
Last page 214
Public Comments Volume Title: Petroleum Plays and Systems in the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska
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