Abstract

Detailed maps of free-air, Bouguer, and residual gravity anomalies for a survey area 250 km wide across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between 45° and 46 °N have been compiled. The Bouguer anomaly was terrain-corrected to a radius of 40 km. The residual anomaly was computed from the terrain-corrected Bouguer anomaly using an empirical linear relationship between the Bouguer anomaly and the bathymetry to predict a 'regional' Bouguer anomaly from the depth data. North–south and east–west trends in the gravity data are enhanced in the residual anomaly; and it is suggested that at least one short east–west transform fault may offset the ridge in a right-lateral sense. The offset is presumably a response to a change in sea-floor spreading direction from west–northwest/east–southeast to west/east about 10 m.y. ago. A change in spreading rate may have occurred at the same time. A difference in accretion rate on either side of the ridge axis is indicated by asymmetry in the gravity data and by differences in the topographic compensation across the axis. Variations in the relationship of terrain-corrected Bouguer anomaly to bathymetry within the survey area suggest that a density deficiency or buoyant forces in the upper mantle are responsible for the overall elevation of the crestal mountain region but that the topography of the high-fractured plateau may be partially compensated by undulations of the crust–mantle interface.

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