Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The continental shelf in the Arctic north of Russia consists of a series of epicontinental seas, which are the offshore continuation of potentially oil and gas basins on land. The geology of all these epicontinental seas is poorly known, due to the remoteness, the extreme climatic conditions and the extensive costs associated with seismic exploration. Radar altimeter sensors thus provide an invaluable tool for studying the geological structures off the coast. The unique ERS-1 contribution comes from its high latitude coverage (81.5 deg south to north), and the space and time density of its measurements (168-day repeat-orbit). The gravity anomaly field is derived from the geoid height measurements by computing the deflections of the vertical in the north-south and east-west directions and transforming these deflections into gravity anomalies. The gravimetry reveals interesting features of the basement of the Barents and Kara Seas which have not been chartered in recent, previous compilation maps of sedimentary thickness in the Arctic Ocean (Jackson and Oakey, 1988; Gramberg and Puscharovski, 1989). We obtain no indication of the SE-NW offshore Baikalian trend described by Fichler et al (1997) using ERS-1 gravimetry. Instead, the data indicate the presence of a north-south trending gravity high associated with the maximum sediment thickness within the South Barents Sea and the North Barents Sea Basins. Further geological studies are needed to interpret the gravimetric data, which directly addresses the problem of understanding the gravity signature of deep, old, sedimentary basins.
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