Abstract

A recent seismic refraction experiment in the deep central region of Baffin Bay showed that it is underlain by oceanic crust. This paper describes the results of gravity, magnetic, and seismic reflection profiling measurements in the bay. There is no definitive evidence for a buried ridge or for magnetic lineations in the center of the area. The magnetic and gravity anomaly fields have been used to define the boundary between the oceanic and continental crust around the bay and therefore the extent of oceanic crust presumed to have been formed by sea-floor spreading. Some of the characteristics of the seismic reflection lines across the continental margins, perhaps typical of this area, are also discussed. The results have been used to reconstruct the history of opening of Baffin Bay in conjuction with geophysical measurements in the Labrador Sea to the south and over the Alpha Ridge in the Arctic Ocean to the north. An attempt has been made to reconcile the geometry of opening with continental geology. Two phases of spreading are suggested. The first involves openings, in both the Labrador Sea and in Baffin Bay, about a pole in the Canadian Arctic Islands. The second, most recent stage of opening, requires that the Nares Strait was once a transform fault, perhaps connecting a Baffin Bay spreading center to the Alpha Ridge to the north.

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