Seismicity of the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge system

Vera.Schlindwein [ at ]


The Arctic mid-ocean ridge system constitutes the most active source of earthquakes in the north polar region. However, the characteristics of its earthquake activity at teleseismic and local scales are not well studied because of the remote location of the ridge. We present here a comprehensive seismicity analysis that compares the teleseismic earthquake record of 35 years drawn from the catalogue of the International Seismological Centre with reconnaissance-style local earthquake records at six locations along the ridge that were instrumented either with ocean bottom seismometers or with seismometers on drifting ice floes. The teleseismic earthquake activity varies along the ridge and reflects ultraslow spreading processes with more and larger earthquakes produced in magma-rich regions than in magma-starved areas. Large magnitude earthquakes M>5.5 are common along this ultraslow spreading ridge. Locally recorded earthquakes are of small magnitude (M<2) and probably reflect the formation of the pronounced topographic relief. Their size and event rate is not as variable along the ridge as that of teleseismic events. Locally recorded earthquakes in the upper mantle are generated at several locations. Their focal depths do not depend on spreading rate but reflect the thermal state of the lithosphere with very deep earthquakes indicating an exceptionally cold lithosphere.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1016/j.polar.2014.10.001

Cite as
Schlindwein, V. , Demuth, A. , Korger, E. , Läderach, C. and Schmid, F. (2014): Seismicity of the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge system , Polar Science . doi: 10.1016/j.polar.2014.10.001



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