Abstract

The eastern Bering Sea Basin, composed of the Aleutian and Bowers Basins, is flanked to the north by Mesozoic foldbelts that probably represent zones of plate subduction in Mesozoic time. Present plate subduction occurs 400 to 1,000 km farther south, at the Aleutian Trench. North-south magnetic lineations that formed at an oceanic spreading ridge, probably in Mesozoic time (117 to 132 m.y. ago), have been identified in the Aleutian Basin. The orientation and age of those anomalies can be explained by reconstructing Kula-Farallon Pacific plate motions during late Mesozoic–early Tertiary time.

In Mesozoic time, subduction of the Kula plate occurred north of the Aleutian Trench near the present location of the Bering Sea continental margin. At about 70 m.y. B.P. (Late Cretaceous), the zone of subduction shifted south to the present location of the Aleutian Trench, thereby trapping a fragment of oceanic plate imprinted with north-south magnetic lineations within the eastern Bering Sea Basin. A stable basin framework has prevailed behind the Aleutian arc since early Tertiary time.

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