Abstract

The 1370 km long 4-AR reference profile crosses the North Barents Basin, the northern end of the Novaya Zemlya Rise, and the North Kara Basin. Integrated geophysical studies including common deep point (CDP) survey and deep seismic sounding (DSS) were carried out along the profiles. The DSS was performed using autonomous bottom seismic stations (ABSS) spaced 10–20 km apart and a powerful air gun producing seismic signals with a step size of 250 m. As a result, detailed P- and S-wave velocity structures of the crust and upper mantle were studied. The basic method was ray-tracing modeling. The Earth’s crust along the entire profile is typically continental with compressional wave velocities of 5.8–7.2 km/s in the consolidated part. Crustal thickness increases from 30 km near the islands of Franz Josef Land to 35 km beneath the North Barents Basin, 50 km beneath the Novaya Zemlya Rise, and 40 km beneath the North Kara Basin. The North Barents Basin 15 km deep is characterized by unusually low velocities in the consolidated crust: The upper crust layer with velocities of 5.8–6.4 km/s has a thickness of about 15 km beneath the basin (usually, this layer wedges beneath deep sedimentary basins). Another special property of the crust in the North Barents Basin is the destroyed structure of the Moho.

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