Crustal structures and the Eastern extent of the Lower Paleozoic Shelf Strata within the Central Appalachians :a seismic reflection interpretation
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Reprocessing of line PR3 proprietary seismic reflection data (24-fold) has delineated Grenvillian, Paleozoic and Mesozoic structures within the Appalachian foreland, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont of the central Appalachians. The eastern portion of PR3 can be correlated along strike with the western portion of line 1-64, reprocessed earlier at Virginia Tech. The 1-64 seismic reflection data (12-fold) images the crust from the eastern Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain provinces. Automatic line drawing displays were produced from both data sets for the purpose of interpreting and comparing subsurface structures. Within the Piedmont, large reflective structures imaged on both lines PR3 and 1-64 are interpreted to be nappes that might be comprised of deformed Catoctin, Evington Group and possibly younger metamorphosed rocks. A concealed extension of the Green Springs mafic mass intrudes a nappe imaged along the PR3 profile.
The Blue Ridge-Piedmont allochthon was transported in a northwest direction along the Blue Ridge thrust, which ramped upward beneath the Piedmont province approximately 12 km east of the surface exposure of the Mountain Run Fault. Along line PR3, the Blue Ridge thrust maintains an undulating geometry, and the maximum thickness of the Blue Ridge allochthon is interpreted to be approximately 4.5 km. The Blue Ridge metamorphic allochthon is generally acoustically transparent and overlies parautochthonous Lower Paleozoic shelf strata. The maximum thickness of these strata is approximate1y 8 km. Shelf strata are interpreted to extend as far east as 5 km east of the surface exposure of the Mountain Run Fault, the northeastward extension of the Brevard Fault Zone, where they are truncated by the Blue Ridge thrust at a depth of 10.5 km (3.5 s). Various folds and blind thrusts are imaged beneath the Appalachian foreland; however, the foreland does not appear to have experienced the same degree of deformation as observed in the eastern provinces. A basement uplift approximately 45 km wide is imaged beneath the Valley and Ridge province and is interpreted as having formed prior to Upper Cambrian time. Further west, reflections itnaged beneath the Glady Fork anticline in the Appalachian Plateau are interpreted as a positive flower structure associated with wrench fault tectonics. Relatively few deep crustal reflections are inlaged along line PR3. The majority of reflections that does exist at these depths is observed beneath the Piedmont and eastern Blue Ridge. The high reflectivity associated with the Grenvillian basement in these areas suggests that this crust was deformed during compression related to the Paleozoic orogenies and extension related to Late Proterozoic and Mesozoic rifting.
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