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TitleThe Orphan Basin: A review of basin evolution, structure, stratigraphy and petroleum systems
AuthorPeace, A L; Bingham-Koslowski, NORCID logo; McCartney, T; Welford, J K
SourceEarth-Science Reviews vol. 232, 104148, 2022 p. 1-22,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20210666
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceEastern offshore region; Newfoundland and Labrador
NTS1N/02; 1N/07; 1N/10; 1N/15; 2C/02
Lat/Long WENS -53.0000 -44.0000 54.0000 47.0000
Subjectsstructural geology; sedimentology; tectonics; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; basins; structural analyses; structural features; continental margins; rifting; sedimentary basins; hydrocarbons; exploration activities; Orphan Basin; Mesozoic
Illustrationslocation maps; seismic reflection profiles; models; tables; seismic sections; stratigraphic columns
ProgramGSC Central Canada
Released2022 08 04
AbstractThe Orphan Basin, located offshore northeastern Newfoundland, Eastern Canada, is a Mesozoic rift basin formed during the disintegration of Pangaea and the concurrent opening of the North Atlantic Ocean. The majority of previous work has divided the basin into the East (EOB) and West Orphan (WOB) subbasins, separated by the Central Orphan High (COH). These subbasins share some similarities but have different opening kinematics, timings, and sedimentary histories. Despite its critical location at the termination of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ), and the transition from the main North Atlantic Ocean to the Labrador Sea, the Orphan Basin remains relatively poorly understood compared to other marginal rift basins in the North Atlantic region. Additionally, much of the public domain geoscientific literature on the basin has not undergone peer review (e. g., conference abstracts, industry reports, etc.). As such, the aim of this review is to critically scrutinize and synthesize the wealth of geoscientific information on the basin, present an overview of the complex structure of the basin and its sedimentary fill, identify knowledge gaps, and provide insights for future research directions. This review highlights that significantly more is known about the EOB than the WOB, largely due to data availability. Furthermore, structural inheritance appears to have strongly influenced the evolution and geometry of rift-related faults. Areas requiring further research include refining the timing and relationship between the opening kinematics of the EOB and WOB, particularly pertaining to the role of the Flemish Cap. Additionally, the continuation of sedimentary facies from the better constrained EOB into the WOB is currently poorly understood, especially for the syn-rift strata, which results in substantial exploration risk in the WOB. Understanding the WOB, including the magmatic rocks, is essential for understanding the wider southern North Atlantic region.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This manuscript presents an overview of the Orphan Basin, a geologically complex, yet poorly understood basin located offshore Newfoundland. The Orphan Basin remains in large part enigmatic primarily due to the limited well and data coverage throughout the region. Furthermore, a significant amount of the available literature on the basin has been published in non-peer reviewed journals including conference abstracts and industry reports, making it difficult to assess the integrity of the data. As such, our manuscript critically reviews and synthesizes the wealth of geoscientific information on the Orphan Basin, resulting in an overview of the current state of knowledge on this basin. In this manuscript we present summaries on 1) the crustal and lithospheric structure; 2) the stratigraphy; 3) the structure and evolution; 4) the magmatism, and; 5) the petroleum geology and exploration history of the basin. We also highlight substantial knowledge gaps in each of these sub-areas and suggest future research directions for the Orphan Basin. This review highlights that significantly more is known about the East Orphan Basin compared to the West Orphan Basin, primarily due to data availability. Our manuscript should provide a comprehensive, useful reference document for anyone working in the region, or offshore Atlantic Canada in general.

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