Abstract

Gravity and magnetic models of the Midcontinent Rift (MCR) in eastern Lake Superior supplement recent structural and stratigraphic interpretations based on the seismic reflection method. An algorithm developed to accommodate spatially varying direction and magnitude of magnetization within a magnetic source is used in both forward and inverse modeling procedures. Structural attitudes of rift-filling basalts derived from seismic reflection sections are used to rotate the Keweenawan remanent magnetization vectors in the direction of deformation. An iterative linear inversion routine calculates magnitudes of induced and remanent magnetizations, as well as normal and reversed polarity basalt flow distributions. The results indicate that the Koenigsberger ratios of these basalts generally range from 1 to 3, which is in agreement with values obtained from rock property measurements. The models also suggest that the greater volume of the Keweenawan basalt section in eastern Lake Superior is reversely polarized and that remanent magnetizations persist to depths of up to 20 km. Our results, supplemented by isotopic and paleomagnetic data, suggest that the vast majority of the basalts predate 1097 ± 1 Ma. A prominent positive magnetic anomaly and a corresponding gravity low strike west across the trend of the rift from the vicinity of Michipicoten Island. These anomalies may reflect a relatively strongly magnetized, felsic igneous body of late-middle to upper Keweenawan in age. Forward gravity models suggest clastic sedimentary rocks up to several kilometers thick overlay the volcanic rocks in localized depressions. Deep crustal seismic data used to constrain gravity models provide evidence of anomalously dense lower crust beneath the MCR.

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