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The Arctic Ocean represents the last great challenge in establishing the broad outlines of the histories of the present oceans of the earth. The rotation of the Lomonosov Ridge away from the Barents Shelf during the Cenozoic is well established, and a unique present relationship has been demonstrated between the Gakkel Ridge and the Poloussnoye graben system. Earlier history of the Arctic is poorly known, but a possible and testable scenario involves rifting of the North Slope Alaska-Chukotsk block (NSAC) from the Canadian Arctic Islands during the Early Cretaceous and rifting of the New Siberian block (NSB) along strike on the same margin a little later. Both NSAC and NSB were involved, after rapid rotation, in the assembly of northeastern Asia with such other blocks as Greater Japan" (much of Kyushu, Honshu, Hokkaido, Sakhalin, Sikhote Alin, Kamchatka, and Koryak) and Omolon. During earlier Mesozoic, Permian, and Carboniferous times, NSB and NSAC occupied one Atlantic-type margin of the triangular Boreal embayment of the Pacific, while the Verkhoyansk Atlantic-type margin of Siberia (with the prominent Vilyuy rift embayment) occupied the other. These 2 rifted margins, which are now caught up respectively in the Brooks Range-South Anyui-Sviatory Nos suture zone and the Sette Daban-Chirskiy suture zone, had formed during the Late Devonian close to the site of and shortly after the Innuitian suturing event between Siberia and North America.
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