Thermal history of Canadian Williston Basin from apatite fission-track thermochronology - Implications for petroleum systems and geodynamic history

K. G. Osadetz, B. P. Kohn, S. Feinstein, P. B. O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Apatite fission track (AFT) thermochronology has been applied to a composite depth profile of Precambrian basement rocks underlying the Phanerozoic Canadian Williston Basin. Thermal histories derived from the AFT data record cycles of heating and cooling which follow the pattern of regional burial history, but which also indicate major temporal and geographic variations in the timing and degree of maximum Phanerozoic temperatures. These variations in the thermal history were not previously recognised from organic maturity indicators and subsidence models. Specifically, our study suggests a late Paleozoic heat flow anomaly with a geographic extent closer to that of Middle Devonian-Carboniferous Kaskaskia subsidence patterns than to that of the Williston Basin proper. This thermal anomaly has both economic and geodynamic significance. The recognition that potential Upper Cambrian-Lower Ordovician petroleum source rocks became fully mature during the late Paleozoic distinguishes that petroleum system from others that entered the main hydrocarbon generation stage in latest Cretaceous and Paleogene time. The late Paleozoic heat flow anomaly suggested from the AFT data implies a geodynamic coupling between inelastic Kaskaskia subsidence and previously inferred late Paleozoic lithospheric weakening. While the temporally varying heat flow model is preferred, the lack of independent constraints on the maximum thickness of upper Paleozoic strata precludes the outright rejection of the previous constant heat flow model. The AFT data provide important new constraints on the evolution of the epicratonic Williston Basin and its geodynamic models. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-249
Number of pages29
JournalTectonophysics
Volume349
Issue number1-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2002

Keywords

  • Fission track thermochronology
  • Geodynamics
  • Petroleum systems
  • Thermal history
  • Williston Basin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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