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O'Regan, Matthew; Moran, K. (2010)
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: QE
Recently published multichannel seismic data from the Lomonosov Ridge image a reversed polarity bottom-simulating reflector (BSR) tentatively attributed to the presence of deepwater marine hydrates and recognized throughout a survey area exceeding 100,000 km2. In addition to the importance of these findings for estimating Arctic hydrate reserves, if shown to correspond to the base of the hydrate stability zone, this seismic marker could provide a means for expanding spatial cover of heat flow data in deepwater settings of the Amerasian Basin, where little is known about the tectonic origin and nature of plate boundaries. As an initial test on the validity of this assumption, we develop a petrophysical model using sediments collected from circumpolar regions of the Lomonosov Ridge to derive an estimate of surface heat flow patterns from the BSR. The results show that the BSR inferred geothermal gradient and surface heat flow are exceedingly high when compared to published regional measurements. Although potential errors in the analysis may explain some of this discrepancy, the observation that the BSR remains at a constant subbottom depth despite large variations in water depths (>2400 m) and relative sedimentation rates provides additional evidence that it cannot mark the base of the hydrate stability zone. A further understanding of its origin requires a more detailed investigation of the existing seismic data and highlights the need for renewed collection of heat flow data from the Arctic Ocean.
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