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TitleHeat flow in the western Arctic Ocean (Amerasian Basin)
AuthorRuppel, C D; Lachenbruch, A H; Hutchinson, D R; Munroe, R J; Mosher, D CORCID logo
SourceJournal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth vol. 124, 2019 p. 1-26, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20190159
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union (AGU)
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf (Adobe® Reader®); html
ProvinceNunavut; Northern offshore region
AreaArctic Ocean
Lat/Long WENS 165.0000 -150.0000 86.0000 69.0000
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; geophysics; Science and Technology; oceanography; marine sediments; turbidites; contourites; landslide deposits; heat flow; thermal gradients; thermal conductivity; heat conduction; radiogenic heat; bathymetry; geophysical surveys; seismic surveys, marine; bedrock geology; basement geology; lithology; igneous rocks; volcanic rocks; volcaniclastics; structural features; faults; submarine features; submarine ridges; sedimentary basins; oceanic crust; continental crust; mantle; continental margins; continental slope; water circulation patterns; modelling; overburden thickness; Amerasian Basin; Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge; Alpha Ridge; Mendeleev Ridge; Canada Basin; Nautilus Basin; High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP); Chukchi Plateau; Northwind Ridge; Mendeleev Plain; colluvial and mass-wasting deposits
Illustrationslocation maps; geoscientific sketch maps; photographs; tables; plots; bar graphs; seismic profiles; profiles
ProgramGSC - Atlantic and Western Canada Branch
Released2019 07 10
AbstractFrom 1963 to 1973 the U.S. Geological Survey measured heat flow at 356 sites in the Amerasian Basin (Western Arctic Ocean) from a drifting ice island (T-3). The resulting measurements, which are unevenly distributed on Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge and in Canada and Nautilus Basins, greatly expand available heat flow data for the Arctic Ocean. Average T-3 heat flow is ~54.7 ± 11.3 mW/m2, and Nautilus Basin is the only well?surveyed area (~13% of data) with significantly higher average heat flow (63.8 mW/m2). Heat flow and bathymetry are not correlated at a large scale, and turbiditic surficial sediments (Canada and Nautilus Basins) have higher heat flow than the sediments that blanket the Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge. Thermal gradients are mostly near-linear, implying that conductive heat transport dominates and that near-seafloor sediments are in thermal equilibrium with overlying bottom waters. Combining the heat flow data with modern seismic imagery suggests that some of the observed heat flow variability may be explained by local changes in lithology or the presence of basement faults that channel circulating seawater. A numerical model that incorporates thermal conductivity variations along a profile from Canada Basin (thick sediment on mostly oceanic crust) to Alpha Ridge (thin sediment over thick magmatic units associated with the High Arctic Large Igneous Province) predicts heat flow slightly lower than that observed on Alpha Ridge. This, along with other observations, implies that circulating fluids modulate conductive heat flow and contribute to high variability in the T-3 data set.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This publication discusses a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey from 1963 to 1973 in the Western Arctic Ocean's Amerasian Basin. The researchers aimed to measure heat flow at various sites using a drifting ice island called T-3. Their objective was to expand the available data on heat flow in the Arctic Ocean.
The study found that the average heat flow from the T-3 ice island was about 54.7 ± 11.3 milliwatts per square meter. However, the Nautilus Basin, which made up about 13% of the data, had significantly higher heat flow, averaging 63.8 milliwatts per square meter. The research also noted that heat flow and underwater topography did not have a strong connection at a large scale.
The scientists discovered that the distribution of heat flow was not uniform, and certain areas had higher heat flow due to factors like different types of sediments or the presence of underwater faults. This research also used numerical models to predict heat flow and suggested that circulating fluids play a role in the variation of heat flow.
The scientific impact of this publication lies in expanding our knowledge of heat flow in the Arctic Ocean, which is important for understanding the region's geology and the effects of circulating fluids on heat transport. This information can have implications for various geological and environmental studies in the Arctic.

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