Mapping the Surficial Geology of the Arctic Ocean
Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 3:10 PM
Surficial geologic mapping of the Arctic Ocean was undertaken to provide a basis for understanding different geologic environments in this polar setting. Mapping was based on data acquired from numerous icebreaker and submarine missions to the polar region. The intent was to create a geologic layer overlying the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean. Analysis of subbottom profiler and multibeam bathymetric data in conjunction with sediment cores and the regional morphology rendered from the IBCAO data were used to map different surficial geologic units. For a relatively small ocean basin, the Arctic Ocean reveals a plethora of margin and basin types reflecting both the complex tectonic origins of the basin and its diverse sedimentation history. Broad and narrow shelves were subjected to a complex ice-margin history in the Quaternary, and bear the sediment types and morphological features as a result. Some shelfal areas are heavily influenced by rivers. Extensive deep water ridges and plateaus are isolated from coastal input and have a long history of hemipelagic deposition. An active spreading ridge and regions of recent volcanism have volcani-clastic and heavily altered sediments. Some regions of the Arctic Ocean are proposed to have been influenced by bolide impact. The flanks of the basins demonstrate complex sedimentation patterns resulting from mass failures and ice-margin outflow. The deep basins of the Arctic Ocean are filled with turbidites resulting from these mass-flows and are interbedded with hemiplegic deposits.