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Abstract

Three Polish Antarctic Geodynamical Expeditions in 1979/80, 1984/85 and 1987/88 undertook seismic investigations in West Antarctica. Seismic measurements, including multichannel seismic reflection and deep seismic soundings, were carried out in the region of the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, between Antarctic Sound and Adelaide Island, Bransfield Strait, South Shetland Islands and South Shetland Trench along several lines with a total length of about 5000 km. Selected crustal sections and one and two-dimensional models of the crust for this area are discussed in detail. The thickness of the crust ranges from 30-33 km in the South Shetland Islands to 38—45 km near the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The crustal structure beneath the through of Bransfield Strait is highly anomalous; a seismic discontinuity with velocities of 7.0—7.2 km/s was found at a depth of 10 to 15 km, and a second discontinuity with velocities of about 7.6 km/s was found at a depth of 20—25 km. A seismic inhomogeneity along the Deception-Penguin-Bridgeman volcanic line has also been found. A scheme for the geotectonic division and a geodynamical model of the area are discussed. On the base of all experimental seismic data, it will be possible to construct a continuous geotraverse from Elephant Island, across Bransfield Strait, up to Adelaide Island with a total length of about 1100 km. Crustal section and seismic models along the northern segment of the geotraverse from the King George Island to the Palmer Archipelago are discussed in detail here.
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