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A marine deep seismic sounding survey in the region of Explorer Ridge Malecek, Steven Jerome


During July 1974, two reversed deep seismic sounding (DSS) profiles extending about 75 km were recorded in the Explorer Ridge region of the northeastern Pacific, one parallel and the other perpendicular to the ridge. A two-ship operation was used to record near-vertical incidence to wide-angle reflected waves and refracted waves with penetration from the ocean bottom to the upper mantle. Signals from six individual hydrophones suspended at 45 m depth from a 600 m cable trailed behind the receiving ship were recorded in digital form. The shooting ship detonated charges ranging from 2.3 kg to 280 kg and recorded the direct arrival plus the WWVB time code. Processing of the data recorded at distances beyond 4 km included demultiplexing, stacking, and filtering. Before the data were presented in record section form, traveltime corrections were made for topography and shot distance, and amplitude corrections were made for amplifier gain, charge size, and spherical spreading. The interpretation procedure consisted of two steps. A homogeneous, layered velocity-depth model was initially constructed from first arrival traveltime data. The p-A curve corresponding to this model was then altered until an amplitude fit was obtained using synthetic seismograms. Weichert-Herglotz integration of the resultant p-A curve produced the final velocity-depth model. This traveltime and amplitude interpretation required the introduction of velocity gradients into the model. The profile run across the ridge showed no anomalous behaviour as the ridge was crossed; the profile on the Juan de Fuca plate, paralleling the ridge, exhibited traveltime branch offsets and delays. These have been interpreted as due to faulting with a. vertical component of offset of about 5 km. The reversed upper mantle velocities are 7.8 and 7.3 km/s in directions perpendicular and parallel to the ridge. Anisotropy is proposed to explain these different velocities. Compared with crustal sections from other ridge areas, the data require a thick "layer 3" (up to 7 km) near the ridge crest. The total depth to the base of the oceanic crust varies between 10 and 12 km except in the faulted region. The results of this study favor the hypothesis that Explorer Ridge is presently an inactive spreading center.

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