Exposure of Basement Rock on the Continental Slope of the Bering Sea

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Science  26 Aug 1966:
Vol. 153, Issue 3739, pp. 992-994
DOI: 10.1126/science.153.3739.992


Profiles of repetitive seismnic reflections reveal that the Bering con tinental slope, outer shelf, and rise overlay an acoustically reflective "basement" which extends at least 750 kilometers parallel to the trend of the slope. This acoustic basement is usually covered by several hundred meters of stratified sediments at the top and bottom of the slope; however, it is exposed in sub marine canyons and flanking spurs along the main part of the slope for a distance of at least 550 kilometers northwest of the Pribilof Islands. The lithologic composition and the age of the rocks of the acoustic basement are not known. However, its probable seismic velocity of 3.1 to 3.7 kilometers per second suggests that it is composed of volcanic rocks or lithified sedimentary rocks or both. The regional geology suggests that the acoustic basement is the upper surface of folded late Mesozoic rocks which were locally intruded by granite and serpentine. The structure of the Bering slope, as deduced from the acoustic profiles, suggests that the surface of the basement has been monoclinically flexed and faulted between the shelf edge and the deep Aleutian Basin.