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Casavant, R.R., 2001

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Bibliographic Reference

Casavant, R.R., 2001, Morphotectonic investigation of the Arctic Alaska terrane: Implications to basement architecture, basin evolution, neotectonics, and natural resource management: Tuscon, Arizona, University of Arizona, Ph.D. dissertation, 457 p.


This study created a new tectonic model for the Arctic Alaska terrane (AAT) by connecting attributes interpreted from surface and subsurface maps. Lineaments that cross the Brooks Range and North Slope proclaim the presence of basement fault blocks trending to the northeast that locally are aligned with streams, coast and lake shorelines, submarine canyons, and periglacial features. These landforms and anomalies reflect upward propagation of long-lived transcurrent and rift fault fabrics. Facies mapping and analysis of heat-flow effects on permafrost, and data from aeromagnetic, gravity, and reflection seismic surveys support the correlation of basement faulting with geomorphic patterns. The conjugate pattern of fault blocks, seen across Paleozoic- and Mesozoic-age passive margin sequences, resembles a piano keyboard and was inherited from older rift margin and transcurrent-transfer faults. Seismic data and North Slope oil-reservoir characteristics reveal complex fault-block boundaries, and common fault reactivation and structural inversion. The rigid North American craton in the Yukon Territory directs deformation westward, leading to continued crustal indention, migration of basement blocks, and thrusting of cover rocks north of the Arctic oroclinal bend. Differential south-vergent underthrusting and uplift of the basement blocks of the North Slope plate have episodically segmented and partitioned strain across the overlying weaker north-vergent cover rocks of the North Alaskan plate. These tectonic controls have influenced the structural and geomorphic evolution of the North Slope-Brooks Range foothills region, including the formation of oil and gas reservoirs and mineral deposits.

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