Maps of the Arctic Basin Sea Floor: A History of Bathymetry and its Interpretation


  • J.R. Weber



Bathymetry, Canada. Lomonosov Ridge Experiment, Exploration, History, Maps, Polar Continental Shelf Project (Canada), Submarine topography, Alpha Ridge, Arctic Ocean, Arctic Basin, Canada Basin, Fram Basin, Lomonosov Ridge, Makarov Basin, Mendeleev Ridge, Nansen Basin, Nansen-Gakkel Ridge


The history of oceanographic exploration of the Arctic Ocean basin from the beginning of this century to the present is summarized. Soviet, U.S. and Canadian contributions after World War II are described in some detail including sounding methods and navigational techniques. The major bathymetric charts of the Arctic Ocean basin from 1954 on are discussed. Comparison of the LOREX bathymetric map with other maps reveals that the Lomonosov Ridge is accurately positioned on early Soviet maps but is grossly in error on later U.S. and Canadian maps. It is shown that map makers relied too much on early U.S. submarine data (the only such data that were declassified) and that the latest General Bathymetric Map of the Oceans (GEBCO) is therefore suspect of being inaccurate in areas where publicly available sounding data are scant.

Key words: Arctic Ocean basin, bathymetry, Lomonosov Ridge, LOREX