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TitleSeismic velocities within the sedimentary succession of the Canada Basin and southern Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge, Arctic Ocean: evidence for accelerated porosity reduction?
AuthorShimeld, J; Li, Q; Chian, D; Lebedeva-Ivanova, N; Jackson, RORCID logo; Mosher, DORCID logo; Hutchinson, D
SourceGeophysical Journal International vol. 204, issue 1, 2016 p. 1-20, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20140437
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; html; csv
ProvinceNorthern offshore region
NTS98C; 98F; 98G; 99B; 99C; 99D; 107E; 107F; 107G; 107H; 117E; 117F; 117G; 117H
AreaArctic Ocean; Mackenzie Delta; Banks Island; Prince Patrick Island
Lat/Long WENS-180.0000 -120.0000 87.5000 70.0000
Subjectsgeophysics; marine geology; regional geology; stratigraphy; surficial geology/geomorphology; mathematical and computational geology; geophysical surveys; seismic reflection surveys; seismic refraction surveys; seismic surveys, marine; acoustic surveys, marine; crustal structure; oceanic crust; sedimentary basins; continental margins; continental shelf; continental slope; abyssal plains; submarine fans; bedrock geology; lithology; sedimentary rocks; shales; sandstones; turbidites; marine sediments; glaciomarine deposits; modelling; porosity; thermal analyses; heat flow; burial history; magnetic anomalies; geological history; bathymetry; Canada Basin; Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge; Nautilus Basin; Stefansson Basin; Mackenzie Fan; Beaufort-Mackenzie Margin; Alaska Margin; Northwind Ridge; Chukchi Plateau; Sever Spur; Colville River; Mackenzie Trough; Amundsen Gulf Trough; M'Clure Strait Trough; Laurentide Ice Sheet; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Quaternary; Tertiary; Mesozoic; Cretaceous; Jurassic
Illustrationssketch maps; geophysical images; seismic velocity profiles; graphs; tables; models
ProgramDelineating Canada's Continental Shelf Under UNCLOS
Released2015 11 09
AbstractThe Canada Basin and the southern Alpha-Mendeleev ridge complex underlie a significant proportion of the Arctic Ocean, but the geology of this undrilled and mostly ice-covered frontier is poorly known. New information is encoded in seismic wide-angle reflections and refractions recorded with expendable sonobuoys between 2007 and 2011. Velocity-depth samples within the sedimentary succession are extracted from published analyses for 142 of these records obtained at irregularly spaced stations across an area of 1.9E + 06 km2. The samples are modelled at regional, subregional and station-specific scales using an exponential function of inverse velocity versus depth with regionally representative parameters determined through numerical regression. With this approach, smooth, non-oscillatory velocity-depth profiles can be generated for any desired location in the study area, even where the measurement density is low. Practical application is demonstrated with a map of sedimentary thickness, derived from seismic reflection horizons interpreted in the time domain and depth converted using the velocity-depth profiles for each seismic trace. A thickness of 12-13 km is present beneath both the upper Mackenzie fan and the middle slope off of Alaska, but the sedimentary prism thins more gradually outboard of the latter region. Mapping of the observed-to-predicted velocities reveals coherent geospatial trends associated with five subregions: the Mackenzie fan; the continental slopes beyond the Mackenzie fan; the abyssal plain; the southwestern Canada Basin; and, the Alpha-Mendeleev magnetic domain. Comparison of the subregional velocity-depth models with published borehole data, and interpretation of the station-specific best-fitting model parameters, suggests that sandstone is not a predominant lithology in any of the five subregions. However, the bulk sand-to-shale ratio likely increases towards the Mackenzie fan, and the model for this subregion compares favourably with borehole data for Miocene turbidites in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The station-specific results also indicate that Quaternary sediments coarsen towards the Beaufort-Mackenzie and Banks Island margins in a manner that is consistent with the variable history of Laurentide Ice Sheet advance documented for these margins. Lithological factors do not fully account for the elevated velocity-depth trends that are associated with the southwestern Canada Basin and the Alpha-Mendeleev magnetic domain. Accelerated porosity reduction due to elevated palaeo-heat flow is inferred for these regions, which may be related to the underlying crustal types or possibly volcanic intrusion of the sedimentary succession. Beyond exploring the variation of an important physical property in the Arctic Ocean basin, this study provides comparative reference for global studies of seismic velocity, burial history, sedimentary compaction, seismic inversion and overpressure prediction, particularly in mudrock-dominated successions.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The Canada Basin and southern Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge underlie a significant proportion of the Arctic Ocean but, since there are no deep boreholes, the geology of this remote, mostly ice-covered region is poorly understood. Geophysical measurements of the speed of seismic waves travelling within the Earth provide insight into the nature and thickness of the sedimentary rocks within an area of nearly 2 million square kilometres. Geological processes affecting the sedimentary rocks, such as compaction and the flow of heat through the crust, are inferred by constructing 3-D spatial models of the dataset.

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