Abstract

Geophysical measurements along tracks crossing some of the main structural features of the northern Baffin Bay shelf are described. The data consist of seismic reflection, seismic refraction, gravity, and magnetic measurements. Results in four areas—Lancaster Sound, Melville Bay, Smith Sound and Jones Sound—are presented. Magnetic and gravity data are used to define the extent of sedimentary basins in these areas. Seismic reflection measurements delineate the structural characteristics of the upper 2 km of the sedimentary strata and allow comparisons between them to be made. Seismic refraction measurements show that the upper 2 km of sediment exhibit low velocities—less than 3.2 km/s. Little deformation of the sediments is observed in any of these areas, however, the strata in Lancaster Sound and in the Melville Bay graben appear to have experienced less faulting than those in Jones Sound and Smith Sound. Normal faults are characteristic of the latter two areas. Jones Sound is a structurally complex area and is filled by a lesser thickness of sediments than is found in the other basins. These sediments are terminated near the entrance to the sound by Precambrian basement. A deeper sedimentary basin occupies Smith Sound and trends across the Nares Strait lineament. Although the data are insufficient to allow a detailed structural analysis of the strata in these regions, we speculate that the differences in sedimentary structures can be related to the formation of the Baffin Bay ocean basin.

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