The first order physiographic provinces of the Arctic Ocean has been defined using the recently updated International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) grid model as the main database and a semi-quantitative approach. The first step in our classification of physiographic provinces is an evaluation of seafloor gradients contained in a slope model that was derived from the IBCAO grid. The slope information reveals certain seafloor process-related features, which add to the bathymetric information. Using interactive 3D-visualization, the slope and bathymetric information were simultaneously analyzed and certain slope intervals of the Arctic Ocean seafloor were found to generally characterize major physiographic provinces. This information was used for the initial classification, although in certain locations gradual changes in bottom inclination made it difficult to detect transitions between some physiographic provinces, as for example, the transition between continental rise and slope, as well as between the rise and abyssal plain. In these cases some manual intervention was required guided by generated bathymetric profiles. The areas of the provinces we classified are individually calculated, and their morphologies are subsequently discussed in the context of the geologic evolution of the Arctic Ocean Basin as described in the published literature. In summary, our study: provides a physiographic classification of the Arctic Ocean sea floor according to the most up-to-date bathymetric model and addresses the geologic origin of the prominent features as well as provides areal computations of the defined first order physiographic provinces and of the most prominent second-order features.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union (AGU)


83, Issue 47


Fall Meeting, Supplement

Conference Date

Dec 6 - Dec 10, 2002

Publisher Place

San Francisco, CA, USA


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type