Abstract

In 1990, Lithoprobe acquired 240 km of seismic-reflection data across parts of the Central Gneiss Belt (CGB) and the Central Metasedimentary Belt (CMB) within the western Grenville Province of southern Ontario. Interpretation of these data in conjunction with geological constraints provided by bedrock mapping supports a model of northwest-directed thrusting and crustal shortening for the Grenville Orogen. Within the CGB, the Parry Sound shear zone is imaged as a 3 km wide zone of reflections dipping southeastward at 20–25° and soling at depths < 7 km in the north and < 3 km in the south beneath Parry Sound domain. Parry Sound domain and the immediately adjacent domains are underlain by a gently southeast-dipping reflective zone at 4.5–12.0 km depth interpreted as a detachment surface, likely associated with the central Britt shear zone. This zone may have accommodated northwesterly transport of Parry Sound, southern Britt, and northwestern Rosseau domains over Britt domain during Grenvillian thrusting.Within the CMB, the seismic data indicate that crustal shortening and imbrication have not been confined to domain and terrane boundaries, as presently defined. A 6 km wide band of reflections dips south at ~20° from the surface within Bancroft terrane, soling into a mid-crustal décollement beneath Elzevir terrane. Beneath and to the north of this planar reflective zone is a complex pattern of strong, south-dipping (10–40°) reflections that extends from the near surface to the lower crust above a less reflective wedge-shaped zone. The zone of complex reflectivity projects updip to the CMB boundary zone and into the CGB; together with the linear band of reflections affiliated with Bancroft terrane, they form the tectonized boundary between the CGB and the CMB. To the south of the linear reflective zone, prominent reflective packages are restricted to the middle and upper crust. The generally nonreflective uppermost crust beneath Elzevir terrane is underlain by a series of gently southeast-dipping, antiformal reflections that appear to sole into the mid-crustal décollement beneath Mazinaw terrane. These observations suggest that the collision between the CMB and the CGB resulted in a sequence of relatively thin (15–20 km thick) allochthonous terranes within the CMB being transported along a regional décollement and thrust northwestward over footwall rocks of the CGB along a penetratively deformed tectonic zone, while a lower crustal wedge may have delaminated the CMB lower crust. Crustal thickness where defined by the seismic data is 42.0–43.5 km in both the CGB and the CMB.

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