A three dimensional perspective on the evolution of Archaean crust: LITHOPROBE seismic reflection images in the southwestern Superior province

John Ludden, Claude Hubert, Arthur Barnes, Bernd Milkereit, Edward Sawyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In 1990-1991 the LITHOPROBE project completed 450 km of seismic reflection profiles across the late Archaean crust of the southwestern Superior province. The results define a broad three-fold division of crust: upper crust in the Abitibi greenstone belt is non-reflective and is a 6-8 km veneer of volcanic and plutonic supracrustal rocks, whereas, in the sediment-gneiss dominated Pontiac subprovince, upper crust comprises shallow northwest-dipping turbidite sequences; mid-crust, in both the Abitibi and the Pontiac subprovinces, is interpreted as imbricate sequences of metasedimentary and metaplutonic rocks; lower crust in both subprovinces has a horizontal layer parallel strycture which may represent interleaved mafic-intermediate gneisses. The seismic signature of the northern Abitibi greenstone belt may be represented in an exposed 25 km crustal section in the Kapuskasing stuctural zone. Preliminary tectonic models based on the seismic data are consistent with a plate-tectonic scenario involving oblique subduction and imbrication of sedimentary, plutonic and volcanic sequences. The northern Abitibi supracrustal sequences either represent an allochthon, or overlie an allochthonous underthrust metasedimentary and plutonic sequence which may be equivalent to a metasedimentary subprovince such as the Pontiac or Quetico. Seismic velocities have yet to be defined. However, crustal thicknesses are relatively constant at 35-40 km. The thinnest crust is adjacent to the Grenville Front where Moho is very well defined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-372
Number of pages16
JournalLithos
Volume30
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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