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Eleven seismic reflection profiles across Shirshov Ridge and the adjacent deep-water sedimentary basins (Komandorsky and Aleutian Basins) are presented to illustrate the sediment distribution in the western Bering Sea. A prominent seismic reflecting horizon, Reflector P (Middle-Late Miocene in age), is observed throughout both the Aleutian and Komandorsky Basins at an approximate subbottom depth of 1 km. This reflector is also present, in places, on the flanks and along the crest of Shirshov Ridge. The thickness of sediments beneath Reflector P is significantly different within the two abyssal basins. In the Aleutian Basin, the total subbottom depth to acoustic basement (basalt?) is about 4 km, while in the Komandorsky Basin the depth is about 2 km. Shirshov Ridge, a Cenozoic volcanic feature that separates the Aleutian and Komandorsky Basins, is an asymmetric bathymetric ridge characterized by thick sediments along its eastern flank and steep scarps on its western side. The southern portion of the ridge has more structural relief that includes several deep, sediment-filled basins along its summit. Velocity data from sonobuoy measurements indicate that acoustic basement in the Komandorsky Basin has an average compressional wave velocity of 5.90 km/sec. This value is considerably larger than the velocities measured for acoustic basement in the northwestern Aleutian Basin (about 5.00 km/sec) and in the central Aleutian Basin (5.40-5.57 km/sec). In the northwestern Aleutian Basin, the low-velocity acoustic basement may be volcaniclastic sediments or other indurated sediments that are overlying true basaltic basement. A refracting horizon with similar velocities (4.6-5.0 km/sec) as acoustic basement dips steeply beneath the Siberian continental margin, reaching a maximum subbottom depth of about 8 km. The thick welt of sediment at the base of the Siberian margin may be the result of sediment loading or tectonic depression prior to Late Cenozoic time. ?? 1977.
Additional Publication Details
Structure and sediment distribution in the western Bering Sea