Abstract

In 1989-1990, the SeaMARC II side-looking sonar (11 to 12 kHz) and swath bathymetric system imaged more than 80 000 km 2 of the seafloor in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea and southern Arctic Ocean. One of our main goals was to investigate the highly oblique (115 degrees ) junction between the Mohns and Knipovich ridges, and to determine, using new morphotectonic data, whether or not this junction is stable or in a state of readjustment. These findings are presented in this paper. Along the northern Mohns Ridge, we observed a highly segmented rift valley undisturbed by transform faults. In contrast to the elevated Reykjanes Ridge, the Mohns Ridge is dominated by deep en echelon fault-bounded troughs, which are bordered by high rift valley volcanoes. These segment boundaries are interpreted to be sites of recent to present volcanic activity, based on their high acoustic reflectivity. The northwestern flank of the Mohns Ridge is marked by shallow quasi-linear ridges parallel to the present orientation of the Mohns Ridge. The orientation and geographic position of these ridges suggest that they were formed at the Mohns Ridge. Only in the northernmost cases are some of these off-axial ridges non-linear. The degree of the non-linearities increases slightly with proximity to the Mohns-Knipovich bend. In addition, because no transform fault was detected between the Mohns and Knipovich ridges, we conclude that the Knipovich Ridge must be obliquely spreading to the NW-SE.

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