A Provenance Study of Upper Jurassic Hydrocarbon Source Rocks of the Flemish Pass Basin and Central Ridge, Offshore Newfoundland, Canada



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A number of hydrocarbon discoveries have been made recently in the Flemish Pass Basin and Central Ridge, offshore Newfoundland, Canada, but there is only limited geological information available. The primary goal of this study was to determine the sedimentary provenance and paleodrainage patterns of mudstones and sandstones from the Upper Jurassic Rankin Formation, including the Upper and Lower Kimmeridgian Source Rock (organic-rich shale) members and Upper and Lower Tempest Sandstone Member reservoirs, in this area. A combination of heavy mineral analysis, whole-rock geochemistry and detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology was determined from cores and cuttings from four offshore wells in an attempt to decipher provenance. Detrital heavy minerals in 20 cuttings samples from the studied geologic units are dominated by either rutile + zircon + apatite ± chromite or rutile + apatite + tourmaline, with minor zircon, indicating diverse source lithologies. Whole rock Zr-Th-Sc trends suggest significant zircon recycling in both mudstones and sandstones. Detrital zircon U-Pb ages were determined in two mudstone and four sandstone samples from the four wells. Five major U-Pb age groups of grains were found: A Late Jurassic group that represents an unknown source of syn-sedimentary magmatism, a Permian–Carboniferous age group which is interpreted to be derived from Iberia, a Cambrian–Devonian group derived from the Central Mobile Belt of the Newfoundland–Ireland conjugate margin, and two older age groups (late Neoproterozoic and >1 Ga) linked to Avalonia. The Iberian detritus is abundant in the Central Ridge and southern Flemish Pass region and units containing sizable populations of these grains are interpreted to be derived from the east whereas units lacking this population are interpreted to be sourced from the northeast and possibly also the west. The Upper Tempest Sandstone contains Mesozoic zircons, which constrain the depositional age of this unit to be no older than Late Tithonian.


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Sedimentary Provenance, Paleodrainage, Grand Banks, Newfoundland, Hydrocarbon, Kimmeridgian Source Rocks, U-Pb Zircon Geochronology, Heavy Mineral Analysis, Automated Mineralogy


Scott M, Sylvester PJ, Wilton DHC. A Provenance Study of Upper Jurassic Hydrocarbon Source Rocks of the Flemish Pass Basin and Central Ridge, Offshore Newfoundland, Canada. Minerals. 2021; 11(3):265. https://doi.org/10.3390/min11030265