Abstract

We present velocity models for two seismic wide–angle-refraction profiles across the Archean Abitibi greenstone belt and the Pontiac Subprovince. The seismic profiles are 210 and 220 km long. Traveltime inversion and amplitude forward modelling were used to obtain two-dimensional velocity structure and interface geometry. The main features of the velocity models include (1) three crustal layers; (2) variable velocities (5.6–6.4 km/s) in the upper crust (~0–12 km), with the higher velocities generally associated with mafic metavolcanics and the lower velocities with metasediments and granitic plutons; (3) a relatively uniform middle crust (~12–30 km) with velocities ranging from 6.4 to 6.6 km/s; (4) a velocity increase of 0.3 km/s across the middle crust–lower crust boundary; (5) a lower crust (~30–40 km) with velocities increasing from 6.9 km/s at the top to 7.3 km/s at the base; (6) an average upper mantle velocity of 8.15 km/s; (7) depth to Moho of about 40 km in the north-central Abitibi belt, decreasing southward to 37 km beneath the Pontiac Subprovince; and (8) observed attenuation of seismic energy propagating through the Casa–Berardi deformation zone, suggesting a complex structure in this fault zone. The velocity model is generally consistent with seismic reflection interpretations that suggest that the shallow supracrustal assemblages form an allochthonous veneer, overlying a mid-crustal imbricate sequence of metaplutonic and metasedimentary rocks. The uniform-velocity structure below 12 km depth indicates that the tectonic zones juxtaposing disparate crustal blocks may have limited depth extent. The 40 km thick crust and 10 km thick high-velocity lower crustal layer exceed the thicknesses observed in other studies of Archean crust.

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