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Abstract

Four Geodynamical Expeditions of the Polish Academy of Sciences carried through wide research seismic program in West Antarctica in 1979-1991. Three of these expeditions operated in the Bransfield Strait. The experiment of deep refraction and wide-angle reflection in West Antarctica focused on deep structure of the lithosphere, mainly of the Earth's crust. The network of deep seismic soundings (DSS) profiles covered all the Bransfield Strait. Five land stations on the South Shetland Islands, three stations on the Antarctic Peninsula and nine ocean bottom seismographs (OBS) recorded seismic waves, generated by explosions in a sea. The Bransfield Rift and the Bransfield Platform form a marginal basin against a volcanic arc of the South Shetland Islands. The paper presents new results of 2-D seismic modeling for network of five selected profiles. Four of them, ranging in lenght from 150 to 190 km, crossed main structures of the Bransfield Strait and the fifth, which connected the other ones and was 310 km long, ran along the Bransfield Rift. Two or three seismic models were presented for each profile. Finally, mutually corrected and controlled 2-D models of described profiles were constructed. They all presented spatial complex structure of the Earth's crust in a young rift of the Bransfield Strait, including extent of its main element i.e. anomalous high velocity body (HVB) (Vp > 7.4 km/s), detected in 10-30 km depth range except profile DSS-4 (southwest part of the Bransfield Strait). This inhomogeneity is interpreted as intrusion of the upper mantle (?asthenosphere) during stretching of the continental crust. The Moho discontinuity was found at depth 30-35 km, with velocities equal to about 8.1 km/s.
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Abstract

During four Polish Geodynamical Expeditions to West Antarctica between 1979 and 1991, seismic measurements were made along 21 deep refraction profiles in the Bransfield Strait and along the coastal area of Antarctic Peninsula using explosion sources. Recordings were made by 16 land stations and 8 ocean bottom seismometers. Good quality recordings were obtained up to about 250 km distance. This allowed a detailed study of the seismic wave field and crustal structure. Three-dimensional tomographic inversion was carried out using first arriv­als from the complete data set including off-line recordings. As a result, we obtained a 3-D model of the P-wave velocity distribution in the study area. In the area adjacent to the Antarctic Peninsula coast, sedimentary cover of 0.2 to 3 km thickness was found, whereas in the shelf area and in the Bransfield Strait sedimentary basins with thickness from 5 to 8 km were observed. In the Bransfield Strait a high velocity body with Vp > 7.5 km/s was found at 12 km depth. The use of the off-line data allowed for determination of the horizontal extent of the body. The thickness of the crust varies from more than 35-40 km in the coastal area south of the Hero Fracture Zone to 30-35 km in the area of Bransfield Strait and South Shetland Islands and about 12 km in the Pacific Ocean NW of South Shetland Islands.
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