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TitleEvidence for petroleum systems offshore Baffin Island
AuthorJauer, C DORCID logo
SourceGeoConvention 2019, technical program; GC2019 156, 2019 p. 1-4
LinksOnline - En ligne (PDF, 606 KB)
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20190142
MeetingGeoConvention 2019: Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists Joint Meeting; Calgary; CA; May 13-15, 2019
DocumentWeb site
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf (Adobe® Reader®)
ProvinceNunavut; Northern offshore region
NTS16E; 16F; 16K; 16L; 16M; 16N
AreaBaffin Island; Davis Strait; Cape Dyer
Lat/Long WENS -62.5000 -58.5000 67.5000 66.0000
Subjectsfossil fuels; geophysics; surficial geology/geomorphology; petroleum resources; hydrocarbons; petroleum occurrence; oil slicks; oil seeps; gas seeps; methane; remote sensing; satellite imagery; radar methods; marine sediments; pockmarks; geophysical surveys; acoustic surveys, marine; photography; water temperature; grab samples; biota; bioherms; sea water geochemistry; sea sediment geochemistry; synthetic aperture radar surveys (SAR); drones
Illustrationslocation maps; profiles; geoscientific sketch maps
ProgramGEM2: Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Baffin Marine Survey
Released2019 05 01
The long term study of offshore Baffin Island demonstrates that several of the many persistently observed satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaged "dark targets" on the ocean surface are bona fide oil slicks resulting from natural petroleum seepages at the seafloor. This offshore region of the eastern Canadian Arctic has been investigated for the presence of petroleum sporadically over the last forty years, starting with studies of visible oil seepage at sea off Scott Inlet, Baffin Island (Loncarevic and Falconer, 1977). Subsequent research has found hydrocarbons in shallow sea floor rock drill cores from the Davis Strait area off Cumberland Sound ( MacLean and Srivastava, 1981) and identified seafloor gas pockmarks off Cape Chidley on seismic data (Fader, 1991). Use of satellite SAR data sets compared to seismic and gravity compilations showed a number of interesting correlations between dark targets and sub seafloor geophysical interpretations (Jauer and Budkewitsch, 2010) that went unproven until 2016 when the SAR anomalies mapped off Cape Chidley were confirmed as an oil slick occurrence (Fustic et al., 2017).
The 2018 study presented here targets two sites off Cape Dyer, Baffin Island (Figure 1) in an effort to identify and characterise the physical aspects of subsea petroleum seeps by water and surficial sediment sampling. This region was selected due to the numerous dark targets present and nearness to a zone of anomalously high amounts of dissolved methane in sea water near the seafloor measured by a chemical oceanographic profile that traversed the mapped SAR dark targets (Punshon et al., 2014) shown in Figure 2.
As the SAR data used was not recently acquired, the question of precisely locating active hydrocarbon seepage was attempted by visually spotting from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or by images from high resolution multibeam bathymetry and by digital photographic camera survey of the seafloor that might show the presence of pockmark features. Due to a legal moratorium there are no sources of other geophysical data more recently acquired than the early 1980's.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Exploration for petroleum offshore Baffin Island has been done for over 40 years with varying methods. Proof of hydrocarbons has been seen at Scott Inlet, Baffin Island and recently to the south off Cape Chidley. Recent work has relied on satellite radar images to see oil slicks on the sea surface. The 2018 Hudson cruise off Cape Dyer, Baffin Island used similar methods and sampled sea water and sediment from 4 sites. Very high amounts of dissolved methane are seen at one site and is likely proof of a large petroleum seep from the seafloor in this area. Further analysis of sediments and biological data will add further details to this newly discovered petroleum occurrence.

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