Lachenbruch Arthur H.

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Arthur H.

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  • Article
    Heat flow in the Western Arctic Ocean (Amerasian Basin)
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-07-10) Ruppel, Carolyn D. ; Lachenbruch, Arthur H. ; Hutchinson, Deborah R. ; Munroe, Robert J. ; Mosher, David C.
    From 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.