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TitleMineral resource assessment of the shallowest bedrock and overburden, Laurentian Channel, Newfoundland: potential marine protected area
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorKing, E L
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 6969, 2012, 27 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceEastern offshore region
AreaSydney Basin; Scotian Basin; Laurentian Channel
Lat/Long WENS -60.0000 -56.5000 47.5000 44.5000
Subjectsstratigraphy; marine geology; industrial minerals; mineral potential; sedimentary basins; basin analyses; coal; tills; glacial deposits; muds; sediments; sands; gravels; overburden thickness; Quaternary; Cenozoic
Illustrationslocation maps; cross-sections; stratigraphic columns; profiles
ProgramMineral and Energy Resource Assessment (MERA)
Released2012 03 14
AbstractA proposed Marine Protected Area (MPA) has been identified for a large portion of the eastern flank of the Laurentian Channel by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and has been designated as what is referred to as an Area of Interest (AOI) leading to a minerals assessment by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). This report will examine the shallowest bedrock and overburden within the AOI. It complements a full assessment of deeper resources, mainly hydrocarbons, which is presented under a separate report. New and previously published maps, cross sections, and sample analyses showing the distribution of the bedrock subcrop pattern, the locally thick Quaternary overburden, and the surficial geology are presented with the aim to document the geological conditions more completely than previous compilations. However, conclusions regarding potential resources are derived much more from inferences than from direct sampling. Carboniferous bedrock in the Sydney Basin has been shown to be coal-bearing across a very expansive area. However, given ephemeral economic viability of onshore and offshore coal mining in the Sydney Basin, these potential resources, despite very poor understanding of amounts, could only be important in a different energy/economic environment than presently foreseen. The Sydney Basin may be a significant producer of gas, given widespread occurrence of gas-formed pockmarks at the seabed and the very expansive basin (12 000 km2 in the DFO AOI and 60 000 km2 otherwise). Tills are voluminous, 75 m thick on average and locally hundreds of metres thick, with a volume estimate of 1250 km3 of (mainly) till within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans area of interest boundaries. The numerous stacked tills result from the latest and retreat deposition phases of an ice stream and are broadly distributed in combination with relatively old tills that subcrop beneath surficial mud. Tills have mostly not been sampled and mineral assessment is by inference. Given the dispersive nature of the subglacial process and the successive erosion of older tills, together with the dominantly mud- rich character, probability of a resource is considered low. Muds overlying the till comprise up to 200 km3 in the AOI, are better sampled but the analyzed suite of minerals suggest there is little that is unique or of economic value. Aggregate is practically nonexistent in the area as the AOI is consistently below the latest low-stand of sea level where, on the adjacent bank, sea-level rise resulted in large sand-dominated bodies. Geohazards are largely restricted to seismicity, and its sideeffects, and potential natural gas escape at the seabed, but both processes have been more active in early post-glacial times than at present.

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