The Cumberland Basin - A Possible Rift

CIM Bulletin, 1972

R. D. WHITE, Anschutz Corporation, Denver, Colorado

The Cumberland Basin of Nova Scotia has long been considered a structural basin by virtue of the elliptical outcrop and inward dip pattern of the Pennsylvanian outcrops. Recent published and unpublished data indicate that subsidence began in the late Devonian, perhaps resulting from a graben or rift. The Mississippian sediments which filled the growing depression were continental, lacustrine and marine with evaporites. The cessation of the riftforming processes is recorded by the alluvial swamp-type sediments of the Pennsylvanian which filled the depression. In excess of 25,000 feet of Carboniferous rocks are believed to be present in the deepest part of the Basin. Starting with the rift hypothesis, we can speculate on the kinds of sediments, their location and the structural features present beneath the Pennsylvanian surface. Using surface exposures and a limited amount of subsurface data, we theorize that (1) the Mississippian evaporites acted as glide zones which effectively divided the Basin into two horizontal structural layers. The rocks above the evaporites, responding to Appalachian stresses, formed the long diapiric folds with cores of overthickened evaporites. Below the evaporites the structures are related to movements of the rift floor, compaction closures and structures formed by differential horizontal movements of the rift walls. (2) The rift, in its deeper parts, will have more and a greater variety of marine rocks than the outcrops indicate. Should the rift hypothesis be correct, the possibility of finding hydrocarbons is enhanced.
Keywords: Cumberland Basin., diapiric, evaporites, Pennsylvanian, Upper Devonian, Evaporites, Nova Scotia, Oil, Oils, Rock, Rocks, Salt, Salts, sediments, Structure