Prospectivity of the Shelburne Subbasin, Scotian Margin: An Integrated Multidisciplinary and Multiparameter Approach from Plate to Pore Scale (part of the PAGEO research program)

This project will significantly increase our understanding of both the reservoir potential of Tertiary sequences within the Shelburne Subbasin, offshore Nova Scotia, and the crustal architecture underlying this critical region located at a proposed transition from a magma-rich to a magma-poor continental margin.

The team will apply state-of-the-art techniques on multiple geophysical and borehole datasets to determine the distribution and hydrocarbon potential of mass-transport deposits (MTDs) and associated ponded turbidite sands, and to investigate the controls of the crustal and uppermost mantle structure on the distribution of source-rock sediments and on the generation of Tertiary submarine sediment failure events.


  • Database of MTDs with information on the geometry (volume, area, water depth, run-out distance) and seismic architecture of all mapped MTDs in the Shelburne Subbasin above the Tertiary unconformity.
  • Database of MTDs surfaces for which direct hydrocarbon indicators and amplitude anomalies have been detected (PETREL Project).
  • Rock physics description of MTDs and associated ponded deposits for which direct hydrocarbon indicators and amplitude anomalies have been detected.
  • AVO analysis results along key sections showing hydrocarbon indicators and amplitude anomalies.
  • Corrected ocean bottom seismic data and navigation files of SMART 3 profile:
    1. Revised shot navigation tables.
    2. Common receiver gathers of all channels on all OBSs; data will include all corrections applied for clock-drift and to remove navigation errors or erroneous shot locations, where needed.
    3. Revised OBS locations on the seafloor by travel time inversion of the direct or water arrival.
  • Final SMART Line 3 velocity model
  • Full-scale error and resolution analysis results (ASCII and PDF files)
  • Integrated velocity model for the sediments, crust and uppermost mantle for the Shelbourne Subbasin and surrounding area
  • Rifting style map for offshore Nova Scotia
  • Maps of crystalline basement and Moho depth and geometry, crustal fault geometry, and crustal thickness

Three papers for publication

  1. Role of mass-transport deposits in the Tertiary evolution of the Shelburne subbasin (Northwest Atlantic Ocean).
  2. Ponded turbidite sands on mass-transport deposits: A new exploration targets in the Tertiary Shelburne Subbasin?
  3. Crustal structure of the south Nova Scotia margin off Eastern Canada.

Principal Investigators: Vittorio Maselli, Mladen Nedimović, Masoud Aali, Ana Corbalan Castejon, Dalhousie University

Collaborators: Mark Deptuck, Bill Richards, Dalhousie University; Alexandre Normandeau, Calvin Campbell Geological Survey of Canada

January 2021 – June 2023