Fact Sheet 15, 2007

The lead and zinc potential of the Franklinian Basin in North Greenland

The Palaeozoic Franklinian Basin extends for 2500 km E–W through the Canadian Arctic Islands and northern Greenland. In Greenland, the basin borders the Arctic Ocean and is nearly 1000 km long and up to 200 km wide. Reconnaissance mineral exploration in the 1990s has demonstrated widespread lead-zinc mineralisation and the basin is now believed to offer an excellent potential for sedimentary lead-zinc deposits.

Geological setting

The Greenland part of the Franklinian Basin was mapped systematically by the Geological Survey of Greenland in the period 1978–85. Throughout the Early Palaeozoic, the basin was divided into a southern shelf and slope and a northern deep-water trough. The shelf succession dominated by carbonates reaches 4 km in thickness whereas the trough deposits that are dominately siliciclastic rocks have a composite thickness of c. 8 km. The boundary between shelf and trough facies shifted position with time and southerly basin expansion in the Silurian resulted in a final foundering of the shelf. This facies border, the so-called Navarana Fjord Escarpment, was a dominant E–W palaeo-topographic feature with a relief of over 1 km. Stream-sediment zinc anomalies are associated with this structure. Sedimentation was brought to an end by the late Devonian – early Carboniferous Ellesmerian orogeny. The resulting orogenic belt is characterised by E–W- to NE–SW-trending folds, with deformational effects most intense in the north, and broadly parallel to the main facies boundaries within the basin.

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