passive continental margin
deep seismic sounding
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Results are presented from a deep seismic sounding experiment with the research vessel POLARSTERN in the Scoresby Sund area, East Greenland. For this continental margin study 9 seismic recording landstations were placed in Scoresby Sund and at the southeast end of Kong Oscars Fjord, and ocean bottom seismographs (OBS) were deployed at 26 positions in and out of Scoresby Sund offshore East Greenland between 70° and 72° N and on the west flank of the Kolbeinsey Ridge. The landstations were established using helicopters from RV POLARSTERN. Explosives, a 321 airgun and 81 airguns were used as seismic sources in the open sea. Gravity data were recorded in addition to the seismic measurements. A free-air gravity map is presented. The sea operations — shooting and OBS recording — were strongly influenced by varying ice conditions. Crustal structure 2-D models have been calculated from the deep seismic sounding results. Free-air gravity anomalies have been calculated from these models and compared to the observed gravity. In the inner Scoresby Sund — the Caledonian fold belt region — the crustal thickness is about 35 km, and thins seaward to 10 km. Sediments more than 10 km thick on Jameson Land are of mainly Mesozoic age. In the outer shelf region and deep sea a ‘Moho’ cannot clearly be identified by our data. There are only weak indications for the existence of a ‘Moho’ west of the Kolbeinsey Ridge. Inside and offshore Scoresby Sund there is clear evidence for a lower crust refractor characterised byp-velocities of 6.8–7.3 km s−1 at depths between 6 and 10 km. We believe these velocities are related to magmatic processes of rifting and first drifting controlled by different scale mantle updoming during Paleocene to Eocene and Late Oligocene to Miocene times: the separation of Greenland/Norway and the separation of the Jan Mayen Ridge/Greenland, respectively. A thin igneous upper crust, interpreted to be of oceanic origin, begins about 50 km seaward of the Liverpool Land Escarpment and thickens oceanward. In the escarpment zone the crustal composition is not clear. Probably it is stretched and attenuated continental crust interspersed with basaltic intrusions. The great depth of the basement (about 5000 m) points to a high subsidence rate of about 0.25 mm yr−1 due to sediment loading and cooling of the crust and upper mantle, mainly since Miocene time. The igneous upper crust thickens eastward under the Kolbeinsey Ridge to about 2.5 km; the thickening is likely caused by higher production of extrusives. The basementp-velocity of 5.8–6.0 km s−1 is rather high. Such velocities are associated with young basalts and may also be caused by a higher percentage of dykes. Tertiary to recent sediments, about 5000 m thick, form most of the shelf east of Scoresby Sund, Liverpool Land and Kong Oscars Fjord. This points to a high sedimentation rate mainly since the Miocene. The deeper sediments have a rather high meanp-velocity of 4.5 km s−1, perhaps due to pre-Cambrian to Caledonian deposits of continental origin. The upper sediments offshore Scoresby Sund are thick and have a rather low velocity. They are interpreted as eroded material transported from inside the Sund into the shelf region. Offshore Kong Oscars Fjord the upper sediments, likely Jurassic to Devonian deposits, are thin in the shelf region but thicken to more than 3000 m in the slope area. The crust and upper mantle structure in the ocean-continent transition zone is interpreted to be the result of the superposition of the activities of three rifting phases related to mantle plumes of different dimensions: 1. the ‘Greenland/Norway separation phase’ of high volcanic activity, 2. the ‘Jan Mayen Ridge/Greenland separation phase’ and 3. the ‘Kolbeinsey Ridge phase’ of ‘normal’ volcanic activity related to a more or less normal mantle temperature. During period 2 and 3 only a few masses of extrusives were produced, but large volumes of intrusives were emplaced. So the margin between Scoresby Sund and Jan Mayen Fracture Zone is interpreted to be a stretched margin with low volcanic activity.
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