Abstract

A study of 23,000 miles of total intensity aeromagnetic profiles in the central Arctic has been made by the U. S. Geological Survey and the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. The profiles were flown at 20,000 feet above sea level and cover approximately 1,350,000 square miles of the Arctic Ocean between the North Pole and the North American continent.

When the profiles are smoothed to remove crustal anomalies, the resulting contoured values differ from the U. S. Hydrographic Office Chart 1703 N for 1955 corrected to 1951 by as much as 2000 gammas in the northern part of the Arctic Archipelago. A nondipole regional focus east of Greenland has decreased in amplitude but has changed very little in position since 1907.5.

There is a profound difference in the magnetic characteristics of the rocks on either side of the underwater Lomonosov Ridge across the Arctic Ocean. In the Eurasian Basin the high-altitude profiles are relatively smooth or show only minor anomalies, but on the North American side of the ridge there is a large area of closely spaced, high-amplitude anomalies which has been designated the Central Magnetic Zone. Although the anomaly trends parallel the Alpha Rise, this zone is far more extensive, including nearly half of the Canadian Basin on one side and probably all the Central Arctic Basin on the other side of the rise. The Lomonosov Ridge is marked by a persistent anomaly of moderate size that indicates the presence of magnetic material in the ridge. Probable block-fault structures along the flanks of the Alpha Rise are associated with blocklike magnetic anomalies of comparable widths. A characteristic magnetic pattern occurs over an area of jagged bottom topography in the Eurasian Basin. A similar magnetic pattern over part of the Lena Trough may indicate another area of jagged topography. The belt of epicenters associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge continues through this rugged part of the Eurasian Basin, but the absence of the typical high magnetic anomaly makes it doubtful that the mid-oceanic ridge extends through this part of the Arctic.

Magnetic data indicate that the thick sections of sedimentary rocks in the Paleozoic geosynclinal belts of northern Ellesmere Island and northern Greenland continue out under the adjacent continental shelves north of Greenland, west of the Arctic Archipelago, north of the part of Alaska east of Barrow, and under part of the Chukchi Shelf, and that they make up the bulk of the Nansen Swell off Spitsbergen. Thick sedimentary fill is indicated in the magnetically flat areas of the Eurasian Basin next to the Lomonosov Ridge and in the southern part of the Canadian Basin.

The magnetic profiles on the Eurasian side of the Lomonosov Ridge closely resemble typical magnetic profiles over both Atlantic and Pacific oceans, where as the profiles of the Central Magnetic Zone on the North American side of the Lomonosov Ridge are completely unlike the oceanic data and show a striking similarity to typical profiles over the Precambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield and its buried equivalent under the Central Stable Region of the United States. Therefore, it is concluded that the Arctic region consists of a probable oceanic area on the Eurasian side and a basin formed by downdropped continental rocks, presumably a Precambrian complex similar to that of the Canadian Shield, on the North American side of the ridge.

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