Abstract

A seismic-refraction survey providing deep crustal structure information of the continent–ocean boundary across the South-west Newfoundland Transform Margin was carried out using large air-gun sources and ocean-bottom seismometer receivers. Continental crust ~30 km thick beneath the southern Grand Banks (P-wave velocity = 6.2–6.5 km/s) thins oceanward to a 25 km wide transition zone. In the transition zone, Paleozoic basement of the Grand Banks (5.5–5.7 km/s) is replaced by a basement of oceanic volcanics and synrift sediments (4.5–5.5 km/s). Seaward of the transition zone the crust is oceanic in character, with a velocity gradient from 4.7 to 6.5 km/s and a thickness of 7–8 km. Oceanic layer 3 is absent. No significant thickness of intermediate-velocity (>7 km/s) material is present at the continent–ocean transition, indicating that no under-plating of continental crust has taken place. The continent–ocean transition across the transform margin is much narrower than across rifted margins, supporting the theory that formation of the transform margin is by shearing of continental plates.

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