Abstract

Vibroseis seismic reflection data have been recorded to 18 s two-way traveltime along three transects across the island of Newfoundland. The upper crust has both steep and subhorizontal reflectors consistent with a ramp–flat style of deformation, whereas the middle and lower crust are largely free of regional flats. Reflectors descend through ca. 20 km of vertical section in the middle and lower crust to flatten into the Moho or perhaps cut through it in places. The Moho is interpreted to be no younger than the dipping reflectors. Reflection fabrics, interpreted to be indicators of dominantly Mid-Ordovician to Mid-Silurian strain, show consistent orientations among the transects and divide the crust into two blocks. A northwestern block is characterized by upper and middle crustal reflectors dipping mostly southeast at variable angles. This block is underlain to the southeast by supposedly younger and dominantly northwesterly dipping reflectors that define a northwest-tapering, wedge-shaped block floored by the Moho. This latter block is cut by isolated southeast-dipping, upper crustal reflectors near the southeast ends of the seismic transects. One of these reflectors is spatially correlated with the Bay d'Est Fault, on which the last ductile motion was south over north thrusting of Mid-Silurian age. The two crustal blocks are proposed to represent the Laurentian and Gondwanan plates juxtaposed during closure of the Iapetus Ocean. The Gondwanan plate appears to be underthrust westward beneath the Laurentian plate, perhaps by as much as 200 km.

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