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Major Sedimentary Basins

Major Sedimentary BasinsFormation of a sedimentary basin spans over millions of years and requires certain conditions. A sedimentary basin is a depression in the Earth’s crust where animals and plants died. The rivers and lakes deposited mud and salt over the remains, thereby creating different types of stone such as sandstone, limestone, shale, and dolomite. It is vital for geologists to assess the rock formations in a sedimentary basin. The presence of these rocks may indicate reservoirs of crude oil and natural gas. As the materials are pushed deeper, the pressure, temperature, and compaction increase. When exposed to pressure and heat, the animal and plants in these sedimentary rocks change to crude oil and natural gas.

In Canada, the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin holds the most number of reserves. It includes the majority of Alberta, parts of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Manitoba, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. This basin accounted for 87 percent of Canada’s crude oil and 97 percent of natural gas production in 2003.

Other sedimentary basins in Canada are located in the Atlantic Margin along the East Coast to Baffin Island. This site is where the Hibernia and Sable Offshore Projects are located. These projects are important because they contribute to Canada's overall supply of hydrocarbons, and because the provinces in the region benefit economically. Further exploration of other sedimentary basins in Canada has been identified in the Artic Islands, Beaufort Sea and Mackenzie Valley with natural resources that remain untapped.



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