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Peel Plateau and Plain

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Outcrop of Upper Devonian – Lower Mississippian Tuttle Formation on Trail River, Peel Plateau, northeastern Yukon (NTS 106L).







The Peel Plateau and Plain is a prospective hydrocarbon region in the Northern Interior Platform north of the Mackenzie Mountains and east of the Richardson Mountains. It contains a Lower Cambrian to Upper Cretaceous stratigraphic succession with a maximum thickness of approximately 4.5 km. Geologically, it is similar in setting to the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin.

The Phanerozoic succession of the Peel Plateau and Plain forms an easterly tapering wedge of sedimentary rock that is locally over 4 km thick and unconformably overlies Proterozoic rocks (Norris, 1997; Dixon, 1999; Morrow, 1999). The wedge can be subdivided into a Paleozoic succession unconformably overlain by Cretaceous strata. Paleozoic strata can be subdivided into two tectono-stratigraphic successions, a lower to middle Paleozoic passive margin succession that includes carbonates in the east and shale in the west and a younger Paleozoic foredeep succession that includes sandstone, siltstone, and shale derived from a northerly Ellesmerian orogenic source. The Paleozoic successions are unconformably overlain by Mesozoic siltstone, shale, and sandstone deposited within a developing foreland basin adjacent the Cordilleran orogen (Dixon, 1999).

The Peel Plateau encompasses sedimentary rocks that exhibit folding and thrusting west of the Cordilleran deformation front. These strata of the Northern Interior Platform are deformed with north- and east-trending compressional structures occurring in the region between the Richardson and Mackenzie mountains. The Plateau west of the mapped Trevor fault is underlain largely by lower to middle Paleozoic basinal shale of Richardson trough. East of the Trevor fault, the lower to middle Paleozoic stratigraphy consists dominantly of platform carbonates.

In the Peel Plain, east of Cordilleran deformation, the underlying geology is mainly flat-lying and undeformed and contains minor local structural uplifts (Osadetz et al., 2005; Lemieux et al., 2009).

For petroleum resource assessment purposes, the Peel Plateau and Plain was divided into three structural domains (two within Peel Plateau and one constituting Peel Plain) (Osadetz et al., 2005). Eight gas plays were identified within these three structural domains. The plays consist of different structural and stratigraphic traps in the Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and the overlying Mesozoic strata. Gas prospectivity increases in an overall easterly direction with the greatest prospectivity being for the Peel Plain.

At the time of the assessment in 2005, no crude oil potential was estimated due to the lack of suitable maturation and source data. Subsequently, Rock Eval data have been acquired for all the wells in the region (Allen et al., 2008) and YGS geologists have documented oil stains in three areas within the Peel Plateau and Plain assessment area.

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