Geological features of the northeastern Canadian Arctic margin revealed from analysis of potential field data

Goodluck K. Anudu*, Randell A. Stephenson, David I M Macdonald, Gordon N. Oakey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


The northeastern Canadian Arctic margin is bordered to the north by Alpha Ridge, a dominantly magmatic complex within the Amerasia Basin of the Arctic Ocean, which forms part of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP). The characteristics of the gravity and magnetic anomaly fields change notably along the Arctic margin, with two main segments recognised. Aeromagnetic and gravity data in the transition zone between these contrasting domains of the Canadian Arctic margin are analysed here in detail. Results obtained using a variety of edge enhancement (derivative) methods highlight several magnetic domains and a major offshore sedimentary basin as well as some known and a number of previously unknown tectonic and magmatic elements. A magmatic intrusion distribution map derived from the edge enhanced magnetic anomaly maps reveals that magmatic rocks are much more widespread in the relatively shallow subsurface than implied by surface geological mapping. Magmatic intrusions (mainly dykes) and other geological structures have NW-SE, NE-SW and N-S major trends. Broad gravity and pseudogravity lows across most of the Sverdrup Basin region are due to thick, less dense sedimentary succession and low magnetised crust. Magnetic and pseudogravity highs observed over Alpha Ridge indicate high crustal magnetisation associated with the occurrence of extensive and voluminous crustal magmatic bodies. Absence of these volcanic and intrusive rocks in the imaged sedimentary basin beneath the northeast Canadian Arctic margin region suggests that the basin probably formed after the cessation of HALIP magmatism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-64
Number of pages17
Issue numberPart A
Early online date29 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

We thank Dr. Richard W. Saltus (U. S. Geological Survey, Colorado USA) for providing the new Circum-Arctic magnetic anomaly grid (CAMP-M) compilation dataset and the Geophysical Data Centre of the Geological Survey of Canada Ottawa for the gravity data used in this study. The first author (GKA) has been supported by the Nigerian Government scholarship through the academic staff training scheme of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the Management of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi Nigeria; hence, they are hereby gratefully acknowledged. We are grateful to the two anonymous reviewers, Dr. Larry Lane (Guest Editor) and Prof. Rob Govers (Editor-in-Chief) for their constructive comments and suggestions which greatly improved the manuscript. This study is part of the Circum-Arctic Lithosphere Evolution (CALE) Project


  • Alpha Ridge
  • Canadian Arctic margin
  • Gravity/magnetic data
  • Magmatic intrusions
  • Magnetic domains
  • Pseudogravity


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