Bathymetry, controlled source seismic and gravity observations of the Mendeleev ridge¤ implications for ridge structure, origin, and regional tectonics

Dayton Dove, Bernard Coakley, John Hopper, Yngve Kristoffersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Multichannel seismic (MCS), seismic refraction, and gravity data collected down the flank of the Chukchi Plateau, but predominantly over the Mendeleev Ridge have been processed and interpreted to describe the crustal style of the ridge, as well as the structural history. These results provide constraints on the origin of the ridge, and the tectonic evolution of the Amerasian Basin. MCS images reveal two primary sediment sequences separated by an unconformity that persists across the entire Mendeleev Ridge. The basement and lower sediment sequence exhibit pervasive normal faulting. The upper sequence is laterally conformable and not effected by faulting, thus the regional unconformity dividing the two sequences is interpreted to mark the end of extensional deformation. Modeling of sonobuoy seismic refraction data reveals upper crustal P-wave velocities ranging from 3.5 to 6.4 km s -1 approximately 5 km into the basement. The velocity structure of the Mendeleev Ridge is consistent with either a volcanic rifted continental margin, or an oceanic plateau origin. Observed gravity anomalies over the ridge are reproduced by a model consisting of bathymetry, sediment and basement horizons from the MCS data and a single crustal layer of 2.86 g cm -3. This result is consistent with homogeneous, mafic crust. The similar velocity and density structures of the Mendeleev and Alpha ridges is consistent with a model where the two ridges are contiguous and share a common geological origin. Gravity modelling over the transition between the Chukchi Plateau and the Mendeleev Ridge suggests the two features have differing compositions and distinct emplacement histories. Three tectonic models are presented for the origin of the Alpha Mendeleev Ridge (AMR) that satisfy constraints set by this and previous studies: (1) a rifted volcanic continental margin, (2) an oceanic plateau formed at a spreading centre-perpendicular to the AMR and (3) an oceanic plateau formed at a spreading centre-parallel to the AMR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-502
Number of pages22
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Arctic region
  • Controlled source seismology
  • Gravity anomalies and Earth structure
  • Large igneous provinces
  • Oceanic plateaus and microcontinents
  • Submarine tectonics and volcanism

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


Dive into the research topics of 'Bathymetry, controlled source seismic and gravity observations of the Mendeleev ridge¤ implications for ridge structure, origin, and regional tectonics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this