Arctic Ocean Gravity Field Derived From ERS-1 Satellite Altimetry

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Science  29 Jul 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5172, pp. 621-624
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5172.621


The derivation of a marine gravity field from satellite altimetry over permanently ice-covered regions of the Arctic Ocean provides much new geophysical information about the structure and development of the Arctic sea floor. The Arctic Ocean, because of its remote location and perpetual ice cover, remains from a tectonic point of view the most poorly understood ocean basin on Earth. A gravity field has been derived with data from the ERS-1 radar altimeter, including permanently ice-covered regions. The gravity field described here clearly delineates sections of the Arctic Basin margin along with the tips of the Lomonosov and Arctic mid-ocean ridges. Several important tectonic features of the Amerasia Basin are clearly expressed in this gravity field. These include the Mendeleev Ridge; the Northwind Ridge; details of the Chukchi Borderland; and a north-south trending, linear feature in the middle of the Canada Basin that apparently represents an extinct spreading center that "died" in the Mesozoic. Some tectonic models of the Canada Basin have proposed such a failed spreading center, but its actual existence and location were heretofore unknown.