Continental shelves/Arctic

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A bathymetric/topographic map shows the Arctic Ocean and the surrounding lands. Credit: NOAA.
Although the map shows disputed areas, it also shows the Arctic Ocean floor. Credit: National Geographic Society.{{fairuse}}
Main bathymetric features of the Arctic Ocean, taken mainly from Weber 1983 'Maps of the Arctic Basin Sea Floor: A History of Bathymetry and its Interpretation' on a base of a screenshot taken from the NASA WorldWind software. Credit: Mikenorton.{{free media}}

The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans,[1] spanning an area of approximately 14,060,000 km2 (5,430,000 sq mi) and is also known as the coldest of all the oceans. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea. It has been described approximately as an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean.[2]

"As an approximation, the Arctic Ocean may be regarded as an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean."[3]

The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes.[4]

The bottom features of the Arctic Ocean are displayed on the map above center, especially all continental shelves, the sea floor around the northern coast of Norway, Svalbard, and Novata Loklea at a smaller scale providing accurate detail. The other two maps provide naming.

Alpha ridge[edit | edit source]

The Alpha Ridge is a major volcanic ridge under the Arctic Ocean between the Canada Basin (off Ellesmere Island) and the Lomonosov Ridge, active during the formation of the Amerasian Basin.[5] It was discovered in 1963. The highest elevation is about 2,700 m over the ocean floor. It is 200 to 450 km wide. The Alpha Ridge, Lomonosov Ridge, and Nansen-Gakkel Ridge are the three major ranges that divide the Arctic Ocean floor,[6] running generally parallel to each other.

The 1983 Canadian Expedition to Study the Alpha Ridge (CESAR) seemed to establish that the Alpha Ridge is an extension of the continent from Ellesmere Island and hence there is a possibility that Canada may lay claim to the resource rights for the region, in particular for petroleum, according to the United Nations' Law of the Sea. There is no final conclusion to the issue so far, and part of the research planned for the European Drilling Research Icebreaker (Aurora Borealis) was drilling of the Alpha Ridge to collect more data.[7]

Other research suggests that the ridge is probably a result of the oceanic mode of development.[8]

The Strand Fiord Formation on northwestern and west-central Axel Heiberg Island is interpreted to represent the cratonward extension of the Alpha Ridge.[5]

The Alpha Ridge is part of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province.

Amerasian basin[edit | edit source]

The Amerasian Basin's most prominent feature is the Alpha Ridge – which is thought to be the location of the mantle plume that fed the HALIP. The ridge reaches a height of 2,700 m (8,900 ft) from the seafloor. Also in the region are a few basaltic dikes.[9] The Amerasian Basin extends over 200,000 km2 (77,000 sq mi).[10]

Amundsen basin[edit | edit source]

Depth profile goes through the Arctic Ocean. Credit: Hannes Grobe.{{free media}}

The Amundsen Basin, with depths up to 4.4 km (2.7 mi), is the deepest abyssal plain in the Arctic Ocean. The Amundsen Basin is embraced by the Lomonosov Ridge (from Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. to Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.) and the Gakkel Ridge (from Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. to Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.). It is named after the polar researcher Roald Amundsen. Together with the Nansen Basin, the Amundsen Basin is often summarized as Eurasian Basin.

The Russian-American Nansen and Amundsen Basin Observational System (NABOS) aims "to compile a cohesive picture of climatic changes in the Eurasian and Makarov basins of the Arctic Ocean. NABOS works to understand:

  • how boundary currents transport Atlantic Water
  • how Atlantic Water interacts with shelf waters, the deep basin interior, and the upper ocean
  • changes in upper ocean circulation within these basins".[11]

The Amundsen Basin formed during the Cenozoic Era from seafloor spreading.[12]

Axel Heiberg Island[edit | edit source]

Dragon Cliffs volcanics occur on Axel Heiberg island, Nunavut. Credit: Arctic23.{{free media}}
Topography of Axel Heiberg Island is shown. Credit: Zamonin.{{free media}}

The Strand Fiord Formation is a Late Cretaceous volcanic component, located on northwestern and west-central Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada. The formation contains flood basalts which are found on western Axel Heiberg Island at Dragon Cliff 300 m (980 ft) tall.

The Strand Fiord Formation contains columnar jointing units that are usually 1 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft) in diameter. The formation is interpreted to represent the cratonward extension of the Alpha Ridge, a volcanic ridge that was active during the formation of the Amerasia Basin.[13] The Strand Fiord Formation is also part of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province.

Baffin Island[edit | edit source]

Baffin Island is in Nunavut, Canada. Credit: NASA World Wind.
Northeast coast of Baffin Island is north of the Community of Clyde River, Nunavut, Canada, from above (1000 m). Credit: Ansgar Walk.
Auyuittuq National Park contains the Qijuttaaqanngittuq Valley. Credit: Ansgar Walk.
Auyuittuq National Park contains the Penny Ice Cap. Credit: Ansgar Walk.
Northern end of Auyuittuq National Park is taken from Home Bay, Davis Strait. Credit: Ansgar Walk.
Topography of Baffin Island is shown. Credit: Zamonin.{{free media}}

Baffin Island has a nominal position of 69°N 72°W.

The Penny Ice Cap has a nominal position at 67°15'N 66°W.

Baffin Island (formerly Baffin Land),[14] in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, is the largest island in Canada and the fifth-largest island in the world. Its area is 507,451 km2 (195,928 sq mi) and its population was 13,148 as of the 2016 Canadian Census. It is located in the region of Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found..

Banks Island[edit | edit source]

Banks Island is in the Canadian arctic. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Relief map shows Banks Island, Canada, to the far north west. Credit: Nzeemin.{{free media}}
Topography of Banks Island is shown. Credit: Zamonin.{{free media}}

Banks Island has a nominal position at 73°N 121°30'W.

The highest point of the island is in the south, Durham Heights and rises to about 730 m (2,400 ft).[15]

Barents Basin[edit | edit source]

The Barents Basin or East Barents Basin is a sedimentary basin underlying the eastern half of the Barents Sea, lying off Russia on the continental shelf between the Kola Peninsula and Novaya Zemlya, producing oil and gas.[16]

The Barents Basin is bordered by land and the Timan-Pechora Basin to the south, the Murmansk Rise and Murmansk Plateau to the west, the Admiralty High and the island of Novaya Zemlya to the east, and rise of Franz Josef Land to the north, subdivided into the South Barents Basin (south of the Ludlov Saddle), the North Barents Basin, and the North Novaya Zemlya Basin, the latter two separated by a major NW–SE fault.[17]

Barents shelf[edit | edit source]

The Barents Sea province is characterized by igneous intrusions with much similarity to Svalbard and Franz-Josef Land. This region is well known for being petroleum-rich. The Barents Sea province covers an area of 15,000 to 20,000 km2 (5,800 to 7,700 sq mi).[10]

Barrow Canyon[edit | edit source]

Map show's Barrow Canyon in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in Alaska. Credit: ArcticImportantAreas.{{free media}}

Barrow Canyon is a submarine canyon that straddles the boundary between the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea.[18] Compared to other nearby areas and the Canada Basin, the highly productive Barrow Canyon supports a diversity of marine animals and invertebrates.

Bathurst Island[edit | edit source]

Bathurst Island is in the Canadian arctic. Credit: NASA World Wind.

Bathurst Island is located at 75°46'N 99°47'W.

Bathurst Island is one of the Queen Elizabeth Islands in Nunavut, Canada, is a member of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, with the area estimated at 16,042 km2 (6,194 sq mi),[19] 115 to 117 mi (185 to 188 km) long and from 63 mi (101 km) to 72 mi (116 km) to 92.9 mi (149.5 km) wide, making it the 54th largest island in the world and Canada's 13th largest island.

Beaufort shelf[edit | edit source]

Topography shows the Beaufort Sea area. Credit: NOAA.{{free media}}

The coastal shelf area is rather narrow, especially near and east of Point Barrow in the Alaskan part of the sea, and contains numerous submarine valleys. It becomes wider near the delta of the Mackenzie River but nowhere exceeds 145 km (90 mi). Near the coast, the depths are shallower than 60 m (200 ft) but they rapidly increase northwards up to a few kilometers, transforming into a massive platform which is geologically similar to that of the oceans. There are many small islands in the sea and in the delta of the Mackenzie River. A few larger ones lie west of the Mackenzie River, such as Herschel Island (4 km (2.5 mi) off the shore, area 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi)) and Barter Island (0.3 km (0.19 mi) from the coast, area 13 km2 (5.0 sq mi)). The coasts are low, with the maximum elevations between 250 and 750 m (820 and 2,460 ft).[20] The soil is frozen all year around at the depth below about 1 m (3 ft 3 in) or less, forming permafrost, and only the top few tens of centimeters thaws in summer. Consequently, buildings have to be elevated above ground on wooden piles that are immersed into the permafrost.[21]

Bering strait[edit | edit source]

Satellite photo shows the Bering Strait including continental shelves below water. Credit: .{{free media}}
Relief map shows the Bering Strait, Alaska, USA. Credit: Nzeemin.{{free media}}

The Bering Strait has been the subject of the scientific theory that humans migrated from Asia to North America across a land bridge known as Beringia when lower ocean levels – perhaps a result of glaciers locking up vast amounts of water – exposed a wide stretch of the sea floor,[22] both at the present strait and in the shallow sea north and south of it. This view of how Paleo-Indians entered America has been the dominant one for several decades and continues to be the most accepted one. Numerous successful crossings without the use of a boat have also been recorded since at least the early 20th century.

The Bering Strait is about 82 kilometers (51 mi) wide at its narrowest point, between Cape Dezhnev, Chukchi Peninsula, Russia, the easternmost point (169° 39' W) of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, United States, the westernmost point (168° 05' W) of the North American continent. It is 53 miles (85 km) wide, and at its deepest point is only 90 m (300 ft) in depth.[23] It borders the Chukchi Sea (part of the Arctic Ocean) to the north and the Bering Sea to the south.[24][25]

Canada basin[edit | edit source]

The Canada Basin is a deep oceanic basin within the Arctic Ocean.[26][27][28][29][30][31][32] It is part of the Amerasian Basin and lies off the coast of Alaska and northwest Canada between the Chukchi Plateau north of Alaska and the Alpha Ridge north of Ellesmere Island.

Chukchi plateau[edit | edit source]

The Chukchi Plateau or 'Chukchi Cap' is a large subsea formation extending north from the Alaskan margin into the Arctic Ocean. The ridge is normally covered by ice year-round, and reaches an approximate bathymetric prominence of 3,400 m with its highest point at 246 m below sea level.[33] As a subsea ridge extending from the continental shelf of the United States north of Alaska, the Chukchi Plateau is an important feature in maritime law of the Arctic Ocean and has been the subject of significant geographic research. The ridge has been extensively mapped by the USCGC Healy, and by the Canadian icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent (with the Healy) in 2011 and RV Marcus Langseth, a National Science Foundation vessel operated by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

The cap is normally ice-covered, year-round.[34] The cap lies roughly about 800 kilometres north of the Point Barrow, Alaska.[35] The area is notable because it is believed to be rich in natural resources (especially oil, natural gas and manganese).

The geologic history of Arctic Ocean basins is a major source of debate among marine geophysicists. The difficulties associated with collecting marine geologic and geophysical data in this remote region has added to the debate on the tectonic history of the Arctic Ocean and the formation of its bathymetric features.

The Chukchi Borderland, which comprises the subsea region north of the Alaskan coast as well as the bathymetric highs of the Chukchi Plateau and the adjacent Northwind Ridge, is a continental fragment that is thought to have drifted from the Canadian continental margin.[36] The geomorphology of the region is defined by north-south trending normal faulting[37] –tectonic activity typical of continental rifting.

Although there is no consensus as to the pre-rift location of the Chukchi Borderland, its tectonic migration could be attributed to an inferred spreading center indicated by a linear gravity low in the Canada Basin. Sediments transported from the Mackenzie River Delta would have buried the spreading center. The Chukchi Plateau, which could have been connected to Canada in the vicinity of Ellesmere Island, would have rifted along the spreading center to its current location.[38] A competing hypothesis suggests that the Chukchi Plateau may have once been attached to the Siberian shelf.[39]

The Chukchi Plateau also shows substantial evidence of pockmarks, which indicates subsurface hydrocarbon activity.[40]

Chukchi shelf[edit | edit source]

The Chukchi Sea Shelf or Chukchi Shelf is the westernmost part of the continental shelf of the United States and the easternmost part of the continental shelf of Russia. Within this shelf, the 50-mile Chukchi Corridor acts as a passageway for one of the largest marine mammal migrations in the world.

The main geological features of the Chukchi Shelf are the Hope Basin and the Herald Thrust, a basement uplift cored by Cretaceous thrust faults. The latter is named after Herald Island. Off the northwestern Alaskan coast there is a Jurassic rift basin, the Hannah Trough.[41] To the north of Alaska the Chukchi Shelf extends to form the Chukchi Plateau which protrudes into the Arctic Ocean geological zone.

The Chukchi Shelf is shared between Russia and the United States according to the 1990 USSR–USA Maritime Boundary Agreement.

Crozier Island[edit | edit source]

Diagram shows location of Crozier Island in the Kennedy Channel. Credit: Twthmoses.{{free media}}

Crozier Island is one of three islands located in the Kennedy Channel section of Nares Strait in the high Arctic. It is part of the Avannaata municipality, Greenland.

Located to the SW of Franklin Island off Lafayette Bay of the Washington Land coast, Crozier Island is the southernmost island of the Kennedy Channel group, the other ones being Franklin Island and Hans Island.[42] The former is also part of Greenland, whilst the latter's ownership is disputed between Greenland and Canada. The cliffs at its southwest side rise to a height of 60 m (200 ft) and the island is reported to be easily identified.

Davis Strait[edit | edit source]

Davis Strait is located at 65°N 58°W.

The Davis Strait is underlain by complex geological features of buried grabens (basins) and ridges, probably formed by strike-slip faulting during Paleogene times about 45 million to 62 million years ago. The strike-slip faulting transferred plate-tectonic motions in the Labrador Sea to Baffin Bay. It is the world's broadest strait.

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Davis Strait as follows:[43]

On the North. The Southern limit of Baffin Bay [The parallel of 70° North between Greenland and Baffin Land].

On the East. The Southwest coast of Greenland.

On the South. The parallel of 60° North between Greenland and Labrador.

On the West. The Eastern limit of the Northwestern Passages South of 70° North [the East coast of Baffin Island to East Bluff, its Southeastern extremity] and of Hudson Strait [A line from East Bluff, the Southeast extreme of Baffin Island (Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.), to Point Meridian, the Western extreme of Lower Savage Islands, along the coast to its Southwestern extreme and thence a line across to the Western extreme of Resolution Island, through its Southwestern shore to Hatton Headland, its Southern point, thence a line to Cape Chidley, Labrador (Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.)].

Devon Island[edit | edit source]

Devon Island is in the Canadian Arctic. Credit: NASA World Wind.{{free media}}
Topography shows Devon Island and surrounding bathymetry. Credit: Zamonin.{{free media}}
Synthetic aperture radar image shows Haughton crater. Credit: Denni.{{free media}}

The Devon Ice Cap is on eastern Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada, at 75°20′52″N 82°10′26″W.

The Treuter Mountains (75°42′N 82°30′W are on eastern Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada. They are part of the Devon Ice Cap.

Devon Island is also notable for the presence of the Haughton impact crater, created some 39 million years ago when a meteorite about 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter crashed into what were then forests. The impact left a crater about 23 km (14 mi) in diameter, which was a lake for several million years.

East Siberian shelf[edit | edit source]

The Siberian Shelf, one of the Arctic Ocean coastal shelves (such as the Milne Ice Shelf), is the largest continental shelf of the Earth, a part of the continental shelf of Russia. It extends from the continent of Eurasia in the general area of North Siberia (hence the name) into the Arctic Ocean, stretches to 1,500 kilometers (930 mi) offshore, is relatively shallow, with average depth of 100 m. A number of islands are within the shelf, including the Wrangel Island, Novaya Zemlya, and the New Siberian Islands.[44]

It is encompassed by the Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, and East Siberian Sea, and respectively subdivided into the Kara Shelf, the Laptev Shelf and the East Siberian Shelf.

Eastwards it merges into the Chukchi Shelf (of the Chukchi Sea) shared by Eurasia and North America (i.e., by Russia and the United States).

Westwards it merges into the Barents Shelf of the Barents Sea.

Also, the New Siberian Islands and the New Siberian Rift Basin define the 'New Siberian Shelf.'

According to the split of the high Arctic by the Lomonosov mid-ocean ridge into the Eurasian Basin and Amerasian Basin, the Siberian Shelf is split between the Eurasian Shelf and the Amerasian Shelf.

Ellesmere Island[edit | edit source]

Ellesmere Island is in the Canadian arctic. Credit: NASA World Wind.
This is the Agassiz Ice Cap. Credit: Paul Gierszewski.

Ellesmere Island is located at 79°50'N 78°W.

The Agassiz Ice Cap is located at 80°30'N 75°W.

The Ellesmere Island Volcanics are a Late Cretaceous volcanic group of volcanoes and lava flows in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of northern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada.

Ellesmere Island Volcanics are part of the Arctic Cordillera. This volcanic province is among the northernmost volcanism on Earth.

Even though these volcanics are about 90 million years old, the volcanoes and cinder are still discernible.[45] The volcanics of the Maskell Inlet Assemblage are mostly made up of tuffs, with smaller flows. Compositionally these are mostly andesite or undifferentiated andesite/basalt.

The volcanics on Ellesmere Island has been uncertainly associated to both the early volcanic activity of the Iceland hotspot and the Alpha Ridge. The Ellesmere Island Volcanics are part of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province.[46]

Eurasian basin[edit | edit source]

The Eurasian Basin, or Eurasia Basin, is one of the two major basins into which the Arctic Basin of the Arctic Ocean is split by the Lomonosov Ridge (other being the Amerasia Basin). The Eurasia Basinn may be seen as an extension of the North Atlantic Basin through Fram Strait. It is further split by the mid-ocean Gakkel Ridge into the Nansen Basin and the Amundsen Basin. The latter basin is the deepest one of the Arctic Ocean and the geographic North Pole is located there.

The Eurasian Basin is bounded by Greenland, the Lomonosov Ridge, and the continental shelf of the Laptev Sea, Kara Sea and Barents Sea. The maximum depth within the Eurasian Basin is reached at the Litke Deep with 5449 m depth.[47]

Today, the Gakkel Ridge is the site of some of the slowest seafloor spreading on the Earth, with 10 mm/yr near the Fram Strait and 6 mm/yr near the Laptev Sea. Initial opening of the Eurasian Basin is constrained by magnetic anomaly and geologic information to the Cenozoic: it was first created about 53 Million years ago by the spreading of the sea floor.[48]

Fram strait[edit | edit source]

Fram Strait is located between Svalbard and Greenland. Credit: Bdushaw.{{free media}}

The Greenland Sea is to the south of Fram Strait, while the Arctic Ocean is to the north. Fram Strait is the only deep passage between the Arctic and World Oceans.

The Fram Strait is the passage between Greenland and Svalbard, located roughly between 77th parallel north (77°N) and 81st parallel north (81°N) latitudes and centered on the prime meridian. The Greenland and Norwegian Seas lie south of Fram Strait, while the Nansen Basin of the Arctic Ocean lies to the north. Fram Strait is noted for being the only deep connection between the Arctic Ocean and the World Oceans.[49] The dominant oceanographic features of the region are the West Spitsbergen Current on the east side of the strait and the East Greenland Current on the west.

Fram Strait is the northernmost ocean area having ice-free conditions throughout the year.[50] The width of the strait is about 450 km, but because of the wide continental shelves of Greenland and Spitsbergen, the deep portion of Fram Strait is only about 300 km wide. The ocean over the Greenland continental shelf is often covered with ice.

Within Fram Strait, the sill connecting the Arctic and Fram Strait is 2545 m deep. The Knipovich Ridge, the northernmost section of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, extends northward through the strait to connect to the Nansen-Gakkel Ridge of the Arctic Ocean. A rift valley, caused by sea-floor spreading, runs adjacent and parallel to the Knipovich Ridge. The Molloy Deep within Fram Strait is the deepest point of the Arctic. This small basin at 79°8.5′N and 2°47′E has a maximum depth of 5,550 m (18,210 ft) ±14 m (46 ft)(See also: Litke Deep).[51][52] The Yermak Plateau, with a mean depth of about 650 m, lies to the northwest of Spitsbergen.

Franklin Island[edit | edit source]

Diagram shows location of Franklin Island in the Kennedy Channel. Credit: Twthmoses.{{free media}}

Franklin Island is located c. 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Cape Constitution. It is predominantly light brown in colour, very steep-sided, flat topped, and rises to a height of 215 m (705 ft) on the Southeast side.[42]

Franz Josef land[edit | edit source]

Map shows Franz Josef Land and surrounding bathymetry of Russia. Credit: Oona Räisänen.{{free media}}

Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of the Eastern Hemisphere. The highest elevations are found in the eastern group, with the highest point located on Wiener Neustadt Land, 670 meters (2,200 ft) above mean sea level.

In 1926, the Soviet Union annexed the islands, which were known at the time as Fridtjof Nansen Land, and settled small outposts for research and military purposes. The Kingdom of Norway rejected the claim and several private expeditions were sent to the islands. With the Cold War, the islands became off limits for foreigners and two military airfields were built. The islands have been a nature sanctuary since 1994 and became part of the Russian Arctic National Park in 2012.

The Franz Josef Land province is closely associated with the Svalbard province. Franz Josef Land is located approximately 300 km (190 mi) east of Svalbard and contains igneous rocks of very similar composition to those of Svalbard. However, the archipelago is scattered with a prominent swarm of southeast trending dikes. Extensive sills and volcanic flows can also be found in the region, as well as a few dikes of other trends. The timing of the Franz Josef Land formations and the Svalbard formations is thought to be nearly identical, furthering the evidence for a large initial plume head model for the HALIP.[53]

Gakkel ridge[edit | edit source]

Pillow lava is from the Gakkel Ridge. Credit: Hannes Grobe, Alfred Wegener Institute.{{free media}}

The Gakkel Ridge (formerly known as the Nansen Cordillera and Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge)[54] is a mid-oceanic ridge, a divergent tectonics plate boundary between the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate.[55] It is located in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean, between Greenland and Siberia, and has a length of about 1,800 kilometers (approximately 1,120 miles). Geologically, it connects the northern end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with the Laptev Sea Rift.

Greenland shelves[edit | edit source]

Greenland bedrock is shown at current elevation above sea level. Credit: Skew-t.{{free media}}

In 2007 the existence of a new island was announced. Named "Uunartoq Qeqertaq" (English: Warming Island), this island has always been present off the coast of Greenland, but was covered by a glacier discovered in 2002 to be shrinking rapidly, and by 2007 had completely melted away, leaving the exposed island.[56] The island was named Place of the Year by the Oxford Atlas of the World in 2007.[57] Ben Keene, the atlas's editor, commented: "In the last two or three decades, global warming has reduced the size of glaciers throughout the Arctic and earlier this year, news sources confirmed what climate scientists already knew: water, not rock, lay beneath this ice bridge on the east coast of Greenland. More islets are likely to appear as the sheet of frozen water covering the world's largest island continues to melt".[58]

Some controversy surrounds the history of the island, specifically over whether the island might have been revealed during a brief warm period in Greenland during the mid-20th century.[59]

Hall Basin[edit | edit source]

Hall Basin is located in Nares Strait with its entrance between Cape Baird on the eastern coast of Ellesmere Island and Cape Morton on the northwestern coast of Greenland. Robeson Channel is to the north of the basin, and Kennedy Channel to the south. The basin is irregularly shaped, the entrance to Lady Franklin Bay lies on its western shores, being deeply indented by an extensive fjord system. Although the eastern shore is more regular, it includes the Petermann Fjord of the Petermann Glacier at its southern end.[60]

Hans Island[edit | edit source]

Diagram shows location of Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel. Credit: Twthmoses.{{free media}}
Hans Island is seen from the air, with Ellesmere Island in the background. Credit: Toubletap.{{free media}}

Hans Island is a barren uninhabited island measuring 1.3 km2 (0.5 sq mi), 1,290 m (4,230 ft) long and 1,199 m (3,934 ft) wide, in the centre of the Kennedy Channel of Nares Strait—the strait that separates Ellesmere Island from northern Greenland and connects Baffin Bay with the Lincoln Sea. Hans Island is the smallest of three islands in Kennedy Channel off the Washington Land coast; the others are Franklin Island and Crozier Island. The strait at this point is 35 km (22 mi) wide, placing the island within the territorial waters of both Canada and Greenland (Denmark). A theoretical line in the middle of the strait goes through the island.

High Arctic Large Igneous Province[edit | edit source]

Cape Tegethoff is a basaltic headland of Franz Josef Land. Credit: Polarstar.{{free media}}
Provinces of the HALIP[10]
(formal name)
(Diabasodden Suite)
750,000 124.5
Franz Josef Land 116.5
Barents Sea 15–20,000 Unknown
Canadian Arctic Archipelago,
Queen Elizabeth Islands
(Sverdrup Basin Magmatic Province)
550,000 90–130
Peary Land, Northern Greenland
(Kap Washington Group)
80,000 130–80
Alpha Ridge, Amerasian Basin 200,000 97–79
De Long Islands/Bennett Island 228 124–109

The High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP) is a Cretaceous large igneous province in the Arctic. The region is divided into several smaller magmatic provinces: Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Sverdrup Basin Magmatic Province, Amerasian Basin, and northern Greenland (Peary Land) are some of the larger divisions. Today, HALIP covers an area greater than 1,000,000 km2 (390,000 sq mi), making it one of the largest and most intense magmatic complexes on the planet. However, eroded volcanic sediments in sedimentary strata in Svalbard and Franz Josef Land suggest that an extremely large portion of HALIP volcanics have already been eroded away.[61]

The HALIP event lasted from 130 million years ago to approximately 60 million years ago. During its active period, there were two distinct phases of volcanism. The first phase lasted from 130 million years ago to 80 million years ago and was characterized by tholeiitic magma series igneous activity. During this time, numerous dikes and sills formed, and there were eruptions of basaltic flow. The basalts formed at this time are relatively rich in TiO2 and have a similar composition to continental flood basalts. The second phase lasted from approximately 85 million years ago to 60 million years ago and was characterized by mildly alkaline igneous activity and the eruption of flood basalts. The igneous rocks formed during the second phase have a similar geochemical makeup as the intra-plate composition.[62]

The Arctic Ocean is a few hundred million years old, making it the youngest ocean on Earth. In the Precambrian, when the Arctic was located south of the Equator, the continent Arctica (or Arctida) filled the gap between the cratons that today surround the Arctic region. Arctica rifted apart in the Late Precambrian (950 Ma) and was reassembled in a new configuration in the Late Paleozoic (255 Ma).[63]

During the Jurassic-Cretaceous this second continent, known as Pangea, broke apart, opening the Amerasian Basin and the Arctic Ocean. HALIP dispersed the components of this second continent around the margins of the Arctic Ocean where they are now terranes and microplates embedded into fold belts or overlain by sediments. As the Atlantic and Arctic oceans opened during the Mesozoic and into the Cenozoic, the Arctic Region underwent several stages of rifting, sedimentation, and magmatism.[64]

Dolerites collected from Svalbard and elsewhere in the Arctic are mafic intra-plate tholeiites characteristic of HALIP, which indicated that the LIP formed during the opening of the Arctic Ocean around 148–70 Ma. Seismic and magnetic analyses of the seafloor produced ages of 118–83 Ma.[65]

The HALIP is widely thought to have originated from a mantle plume, and the igneous activity of the province often tracked along a similar path as the Icelandic hotspot.[62]

The HALIP is divided into several magmatic provinces. These provinces are divided by location, igneous rock composition, and the formations present.

Joe Island[edit | edit source]

Map shows part of Ellesmere Island and far Northern Greenland. Credit: Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center, St. Louis, Mo.{{free media}}

Joe Island is an island of the Nares Strait, Greenland. [42] Administratively it belongs to the Avannaata municipality.

Joe Island was named after Joe (Ipiirvik or Ebierbing), an Inuit guide who accompanied Charles Francis Hall in the 1871 Polaris expedition.[66][67]

Joe Island lies in the Kennedy Channel at the limit of the Hall Basin. It is located about 4 km north of Cape Morton, off the northern end of the Petermann Peninsula, to the northwest of the mouth of Petermann Fjord. The waters around the island are icebound most of the year.

The island is mushroom-shaped. It has an area of 1.1 km2 and an elevation of 100 meters.[68]

Kane basin[edit | edit source]

Kane Basin, Nunavut, Canada.
  Northwest Territories

Kane Basin is an Arctic waterway lying between Greenland and Canada's northernmost island, Ellesmere Island. It links Smith Sound to Kennedy Channel and forms part of Nares Strait. It is approximately 180 kilometres in length and 130 km at its widest.

"A believer in the hypothesis of an open polar sea, he persuaded Grinnell, American financier George Peabody, the United States Navy Department, and several scientific societies to sponsor a second expedition to go north from Baffin Bay to the shores of the "Polar Sea" in search of Franklin. [...] The Advance then proceeded up the west coast of Greenland and into the sound Kane named Peabody Bay (later renamed Kane Basin) where, by the end of August, its northward progress was stopped by the ice."[69]

Kane Basin is named after the American explorer Elisha Kane, whose expedition in search of Franklin's lost expedition crossed it in 1854, but Kane himself had named it "Peabody Bay," in honor of philanthropist George Peabody, the major funder of Kane's expedition.[69]

Kara shelf[edit | edit source]

Kara Sea structural map is shown. Credit: Gregory F. Ulmishek.{{free media}}
Bathymetry of Kara Sea and neighbouring regions is shown. Credit: DeWikiMan.

"The northern onshore and offshore parts of the [West Siberian] basin are included in the Northern West Siberian Mesozoic Composite Total Petroleum System that encompasses the entire sedimentary cover. The system is strongly gas-prone; it contains giant gas reserves and comparatively small oil reserves. The major part of hydrocarbon reserves is dry gas in the upper Aptian–Cenomanian sandstones (Pokur Formation and equivalents). Smaller reserves of wet gas and some oil are in Jurassic and Neocomian sandstones. Source rocks for the dry gas in the Pokur Formation that constitutes more than 80 percent of the hydrocarbon reserves are unknown. Wet Neocomian gas and oil were generated from Jurassic source rocks, including the Bazhenov Formation. Almost all discovered reserves are in structural traps; however, stratigraphic traps in the Neocomian interval probably contain large undiscovered gas resources. The onshore and offshore parts of the total petroleum system were assessed as separate units because of different exploration maturity and different infrastructure requirements. The onshore area is substantially explored, especially in the shallow Aptian–Cenomanian sequence, whereas only three exploratory wells have been drilled offshore. Undiscovered gas potential of both assessment units is very high."[70]

Kennedy Channel[edit | edit source]

Knipovich ridge[edit | edit source]

The Knipovich Ridge lies between Greenland and Spitsbergen.

Komsomolets[edit | edit source]

Labrador Sea[edit | edit source]

Laptev shelf[edit | edit source]

Bathymetry of the Laptev Sea and borders according to IHO 1957 are shown. Credit: Brn-Bld.{{free media}}

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Laptev Sea as follows:[71]

On the West. The eastern limit of Kara Sea [Komsomolets Island from Cape Molotov to South Eastern Cape; thence to Cape Vorochilov, Oktiabrskaya Revolutziya Island to Cape Anuchin. Then to Cape Unslicht on Bolshevik Island. Bolshevik Island to Cape Yevgenov. Thence to Cape Pronchisthehev on the main land (see Russian chart No. 1484 of the year 1935)].

On the North. A line joining Cape Molotov to the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island (Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.).

On the East. From the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island – through Kotelni Island to Cape Madvejyi. Then through Malyi Island [Little Lyakhovsky Island], to Cape Vaguin on Great Liakhov Island. Thence to Cape Sviatoy Nos on the main land.

Using current geographic names and transcription this definition corresponds to the area shown in the map.

  1. The sea's border starts at Arctic Cape (formerly Cape Molotov) on Komsomolets Island at Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. and connects to Cape Rosa Luxemburg (Mys Rozy Lyuksemburg), the southeastern cape of the island.
  2. The next segment crosses Red Army Strait and leads to Cape Vorochilov on October Revolution Island and afterwards through that island to Cape Anuchin at Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found..
  3. Next, the border crosses Shokalsky Strait to Cape Unslicht at Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. on Bolshevik Island. It goes further through the island to Cape Yevgenov at Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found..[72]
  4. From there, the border goes through Vilkitsky Strait to Cape Pronchishchev at Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. on the Tamyr peninsula.
  5. The southern boundary is the shore of the Asian mainland. Prominent features are the Khatanga Gulf (estuary of the Khatanga river) and the delta of the Lena River.
  6. In the east, the polygon crosses the Dmitry Laptev Strait. It connects Cape Svyatoy Nos at Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. with Cape Vagin at Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. in the very east of Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island.
  7. Next, the Laptev Sea border crosses Eterikan Strait to Little Lyakhovsky Island (aka Malyi Island) at Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. up to Cape Medvezhiy.
  8. Finally, there is a segment through Kotelny Island to Cape Anisy, its northernmost headland Lua error: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found..
  9. The last link reaches from there back to Arctic Cape.

Lincoln shelf[edit | edit source]

Litke Deep[edit | edit source]

Lomonosov ridge[edit | edit source]

The Lomonosov Ridge is an unusual underwater ridge of continental crust in the Arctic Ocean spanning 1,800 kilometres (1,100 mi) between the New Siberian Islands over the central part of the ocean to Ellesmere Island of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.[73] The ridge divides the Arctic Basin into the Eurasian Basin and the Amerasian Basin. The width of the Lomonosov Ridge varies from 60 to 200 kilometres (37 to 124 mi). It rises 3,300 to 3,700 metres (10,800 to 12,100 ft) above the 4,200-metre (13,800 ft) deep seabed. The minimum depth of the ocean above the ridge is less than 400 metres (1,300 ft).[74] Slopes of the ridge are relatively steep, broken up by canyons, and covered with layers of silt.

Makarov Basin[edit | edit source]

Mendeleev ridge[edit | edit source]

Milne Ice Shelf[edit | edit source]

Molloy Deep[edit | edit source]

The Molloy Deep (also known as the Molloy Hole) is a bathymetric feature in the Fram Strait, within the Greenland Sea[75] east of Greenland and about 160 km west of Svalbard. It is the location of the deepest point in the Arctic Ocean.[76][77][78][79][80][81][82]

The outer rim of the trench is at a depth of 2,700 m (8,900 ft) and contains about 600 km2 inside the rim, descending to approximately 5,550 m (18,210 ft) at its greatest depth. The basin floor measures about 220 km2, and is the deepest point in the Arctic Ocean.[83][84] The first and only person to have reached the bottom of the Molloy Deep is American explorer Victor Vescovo, as part of his Five Deeps Expedition.

The Molloy Deep is a roughly rectangular, seismically active,[85] extensional,[86] sea-floor basin, that lies between the northwestern tip of the Molloy Fracture Zone,[87] (a right-lateral,[88] strike-slip fault[88]), and the Spitsbergen Fracture Zone (also a right-lateral, strike-slip fault). These two fracture zones connect the Knipovich Ridge (the actively spreading northern segment of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean ridge system), with the Lena Trough, an actively spreading mid-ocean ridge region north of the Spitsbergen Fracture Zone. The Lena Trough joins the southwestern end of the Arctic Ocean's Gakkel Ridge[89] which is the slowest spreading mid-ocean ridge on Earth,[90][91] and which stretches across the entire Arctic Oceans’ Eurasian Basin.

Naajaat[edit | edit source]

The Greenland ice sheet is seen to the upper left. Credit: Kim Hansen.

The camera location for the view above 73°08'35.3"N 55°48'36.7"W.

Naajaat Island is located in Tasiusaq Bay, in the South-Central part of Upernavik Archipelago. The inner waterways of the bay separate it from Innaarsuit Island in the west, and from the mainland Qassersuaq Peninsula in the southeast. The island is part of a small group of larger skerries, trailed by Naajaat Kangilleq in the northeast, and Sanningassorsuaq in the southeast. The narrow channels between the three islands provide good harbourage for the settlement.[92]

Nansen basin[edit | edit source]

Profile shows the Arctic Ocean from the Barents Sea towards the (geographic) North Pole. Credit: Hannes Grobe, Alfred Wegener Institute.{{free media}}

The Nansen Basin (also 'Central Basin,[93] formerly Fram Basin) is an abyssal plain with water-depths of around 3 km in the Arctic Ocean and (together with the deeper Amundsen Basin) part of the Eurasian Basin. It is named after Fridtjof Nansen. The Nansen Basin is bounded by the Gakkel Ridge on the one side and by the Barents Sea continental shelf on the other.[94][95]

The lowest point of the Arctic Ocean lies within the Nansen Basin and has a depth of 4,665 m.[96] The Barents Abyssal Plain is located at the center of the Fram Basin.[97]

Nares strait[edit | edit source]

Time-lapse imagery from July 9 to Sept. 13 2012 shows an ice island calve from Petermann Glacier and pass through Nares Strait. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.{{free media}}

Nares Strait is a waterway between Ellesmere Island and Greenland that connects the northern part of Baffin Bay in the Atlantic Ocean with the Lincoln Sea in the Arctic Ocean. From south to north, the strait includes Smith Sound, Kane Basin, Kennedy Channel, Hall Basin and Robeson Channel. Nares strait has a nearly permanent current from the north, powered by the Beaufort Gyre, making it harder to traverse for ships coming from the south.

The strait and neighbouring waters are usually hazardous for navigation and shipping. Icebergs and pack ice are present year-round; in an extreme example during 1962–64, a 20 km (12 mi) by 10 km (6.2 mi) ice island drifted southward from the Lincoln Sea through the Nares and Davis Straits to the Labrador Sea.[98] During August, however, it is usually navigable by icebreakers. Prior to 1948, only five vessels were recorded as having successfully navigated north of Kane Basin. In 2009 the ship Arctic Sunrise made the first known June transit into the Arctic Ocean.[99]

Hans Island, a tiny island lying within the strait, is claimed by both Denmark (on behalf of Greenland) and Canada. Other islands within the strait are Joe Island, Crozier Island, and the much larger Franklin Island.

New Siberian Islands[edit | edit source]

Satellite photo is of the New Siberian Islands. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC.
Kotelny Island and Faddeyevsky Island are located between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea in the Yakutia Arctic. Credit: NASA.

The New Siberian Islands north of Yakutia have a nominal position of 75°16′N 145°15′E.

"The winter sea ice in the east Siberian Sea is looking a bit like a cracked windshield in these true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images from June 16 and 23, 2002. North of the thawing tundra, the sea ice takes on its cracked, bright blue appearance as it thins, which allows the reflection of the water to show through. Numerous still-frozen lakes dot the tundra."[100]

The Laptev Sea is on the left in the image on the right and part of the East Siberian Sea is on the right.

North land[edit | edit source]

Severnaya Zemlya, Russia, North Land or northern land consists of four main islands. Credit: .{{free media}}

Severnaya Zemlya comprises four major islands – October Revolution, Bolshevik, Komsomolets, and Pioneer – and around 70 smaller islands, covering a total area of about 37,000 km2 (14,300 sq mi). It is separated from the Taymyr Peninsula by the Vilkitsky Strait.[101]

Four of the main islands are largely glaciated, October Revolution, Komsomolets, and Pioneer, as well as the smaller Schmidt Island at the northwestern limit. The glacierised area on Bolshevik, the southernmost main island of the group, covers about a quarter of its land's surface. The southmost point of Severnaya Zemlya is Cape Neupokoyev at the SW end of Bolshevik Island.[102] The highest point of the archipelago is 965 m (3,166 ft) Mount Karpinsky, the summit of the Karpinsky Glacier, an ice dome on October Revolution Island. The Red Army Strait separates Komsomolets Island from October Revolution Island and the broader Shokalsky Strait Bolshevik Island from October Revolution Island. Both straits connect the Kara Sea in the west with the Laptev Sea in the east.[103]

This archipelago encloses the northern limits of the Kara Sea on its western shores, together with Novaya Zemlya, located roughly 1,000 km (620 mi) to the southwest. The large rivers Ob and Yenisei, among others, flow from the south into this marginal sea area of the Arctic Ocean, with their abundant waters contributing to a climate with relatively high precipitation despite the prevalent extreme cold temperatures of the high latitude. The Laptev Sea, where the mighty Lena River steadily expands its large delta, lies to the east of Severnaya Zemlya. The topographic relief of the archipelago is quite smooth, with Neoproterozoic and Palaeozoic sedimentary successions dominating its bedrock geology.[104]

Northwind basin[edit | edit source]

Northwind ridge[edit | edit source]

Norwegian Sea[edit | edit source]

Bathymetric chart is of the Norwegian Sea and adjacent areas. Credit: Jens Eggvin, Harald Kismul and Svein Lygren.{{fairuse}}
The Vestfjorden with the mountains of the Lofoten archipelago seen from Løvøy Island in Steigen. Credit: Finn Rindahl.{{free media}}
The Norwegian Sea is outlined in red. Credit: selber.{{free media}}

Vågakaillen (942 m) is the taller of the two peaks in the centre of the image.[105][20][106]

The large volume of water in the Norwegian Sea with its large heat absorption capacity is more important as a source of Norway's mild winters than the Gulf Stream and its extensions.[107]

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Norwegian Sea as follows:[108]

On the Northeast. A line joining the southernmost point of West Spitzbergen to North Cape of Bear Island, through this island to Cape Bull and thence on to North Cape in Norway (25°45'E).
On the Southeast. The West coast of Norway between North Cape and Cape Stadt (62°10'N 5°00'E).
On the South. From a point on the West coast of Norway in 61st parallel north (Latitude 61°00' North) along this parallel to Longitude 0°53' West thence a line to the NE extreme of Fuglö (62°21'N 6°15'W) and on to the East extreme of Gerpir (65°05'N 13°30'W) in Iceland.
On the West. The Southeastern limit of Greenland Sea [A line joining the southernmost point of West Spitzbergen to the Northern point of Jan Mayen Island, down the West coast of that island to its Southern extreme, thence a Line to the Eastern extreme of Gerpir (65°05'N 13°30'W) in Iceland].

The existing narrow shelf sea between Norway and Greenland began to widen and deepen.[109]

Settling of the shelf after the separation of the continents has resulted in landslides, such as the Storegga Slide about 8,000 years ago that induced a major tsunami.[109]

The coasts of the Norwegian Sea were shaped during the last Ice Age when large glaciers several kilometres high pushed into the land, forming fjords, removing the crust into the sea, and thereby extending the continental slopes, especially off the Norwegian coast along Helgeland and north to the Lofoten Islands.[109]

The Norwegian continental shelf is between 40 and 200 kilometres wide, and has a different shape from the shelves in the North Sea and Barents Sea: it contains numerous trenches and irregular peaks, which usually have an amplitude of less than 100 metres, but can reach up to 400 metres.[110] They are covered with a mixture of gravel, sand, and mud, and the trenches are used by fish as spawning grounds.[109]

Deeper into the sea, there are two deep basins separated by a low ridge (its deepest point at 3,000 m) between the Vøring Plateau and Jan Mayen island, where the southern basin is larger and deeper, with large areas between 3,500 and 4,000 metres deep; the northern basin is shallower at 3,200–3,300 metres, but contains many individual sites going down to 3,500 metres.[111]

Submarine thresholds and continental slopes mark the borders of these basins with the adjacent seas. To the south lies the European continental shelf and the North Sea, to the east is the Eurasian continental shelf with the Barents Sea. To the west, the Scotland-Greenland Ridge separates the Norwegian Sea from the North Atlantic. This ridge is on average only 500 metres deep, only in a few places reaching the depth of 850 metres. To the north lie the Jan Mayen Ridge and Mohns Ridge, which lie at a depth of 2,000 metres, with some trenches reaching depths of about 2,600 meters.[111]

October Revolution[edit | edit source]

Peabody Bay[edit | edit source]

Currently Peabody Bay is a bay at the eastern side of the Kane basin, off the southwestern end of the Humboldt Glacier in northern Greenland.[112][113]

Peary Land[edit | edit source]

The northern Greenland province, also known as Peary Land, contains three dike swarms. The Nansen Land swarm trends SSE-SE and is the oldest of the swarms. The middle-aged swarm is known as the Erlandsen Swarm and trends SE-ESE. The J. P. Koch Swarm is the youngest of the three and trends eastward. The two younger swarms tend to have igneous rocks of alkaline composition, while the Nansen Land swarm tends to have more tholeiitic composition.[53] The Peary Land province covers an area of over 80,000 km2 (31,000 sq mi).[10]

Pioneer[edit | edit source]

Podvodnikov basin[edit | edit source]

Robeson Channel[edit | edit source]

Schmidt Island[edit | edit source]

Smith sound[edit | edit source]

Spitsbergen[edit | edit source]

Svalbard[edit | edit source]

Spitzbergen from west towards east is viewed from a plane during approach for landing. Credit: Hannes Grobe.{{free media}}

Svalbard has coordinates 78°N 16°E.

This image on the right is definitely Kvalvågen with Strongbreen at 77°30'N 17°30'E.

In the Svalbard province, the HALIP is expressed as an extensive system of alkaline intrusive doleritic rocks. The intrusions largely appear in the form of sills that can reach thicknesses of 100 m (330 ft) and continuously extend for up to 30 km (19 mi) laterally. The basaltic rocks found in Svalbard have an intra-plate composition and are thought to originate from a source near the Alpha Ridge. The Svalbard province is also closely associated with the Franz Josef Land province (discussed below).[114] The two provinces combined cover an area of approximately 750,000 km2 (290,000 sq mi).[10]

Sverdrup basin[edit | edit source]

The Sverdrup Basin province spreads across the Canadian Arctic Islands. The region is characterized by the presence of a radiating dike swarm across the Queen Elizabeth Islands that seems to suggest the presence of a mantle plume beneath the Alpha Ridge. This province contains igneous rocks of both tholeiitic and alkaline composition.[115][116] There are also a respectable number of sills and flood basalts in the province.[53] The flood basalts in the Canadian Arctic Islands are similar to those of the Columbia River flood basalts in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The Sverdrup Basin Magmatic Province covers an area of 550,000 km2 (210,000 sq mi).[10]

Victoria Island[edit | edit source]

Mikkelsons Harbor has a ship for scale. Credit: ErinDriver.
Victoria Island is in the Canadian arctic. Credit: NASA.{{free media}}
Topography of Victoria Island is shown. Credit: Zamonin{{free media}}

Victoria Island is at 71°N 110°W.

Wandel Sea[edit | edit source]

This map shows the location of the Wandel Sea northwest of Greenland and west of Svalbard. Credit: NormanEinstein.{{free media}}
Relief location map of Greenland. Credit: Uwe Dedering.{{free media}}

The Wandel Sea (also known as McKinley Sea)[117] is a body of water in the Arctic Ocean, stretching from northeast of Greenland to Svalbard. It is obstructed by ice most of the year.

Nearby bodies of water include the Arctic Ocean, of which it is part, Greenland Sea, Lincoln Sea, Norwegian Sea, and Barents Sea.

Seas farther north and northwest of the Wandel Sea were once frozen year-round but now may have open water in late summer, as of August 2018.[118]

Wrangel island[edit | edit source]

Yermak Plateau[edit | edit source]

Hypotheses[edit | edit source]

  1. Underneath ice there may be water.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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