Tectonic Fabric Map of the Ocean Basins from Satellite Altimetry Data (Paleoceanographic Mapping Project Progress Report No. 32-1287)
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Satellite altimetry data provides a new source of information on the bathymetry of the ocean floor. This study used the SEAS AT and GEOSA T altimetry data to produce a global map which displays the tectonic fabric of the ocean basins. The data were processed and interpreted as discrete data points. The result is a map which describes the outlines of various tectonic features through a series of lineations corresponding to the gravity anomalies associated with the features. The uniformity of the satellite coverage enables this map to serve as a global database of greater resolution and continuity than currently provided by ship-track data. This map permits the extension of the physical limits of many tectonic features well beyond what was previously known, particularly in the southern oceans. For instance, various fracture zones, such as the Ascension, Tasman, and Udintsev fracture zones, can be extended much closer to their respective continental margins. The tectonic fabric map reveals many features which are not apparent on global bathymetric charts. These features include extinct ridges, minor fracture zone lineations, and seamounts. In several areas, especially on aseismic plateaus and along continental margins, the map displays broad gravity anomalies whose origin, though unknown, may relate in some way to basement structure. It is obvious that the tectonic fabric displayed by this map has much potential for future, in-depth studies.