Abstract

A detailed seismic refraction profile was shot along the continental shelf off Labrador, across the boundary between the Archean Nain Province to the north and the Proterozoic Makkovik orogenic zone to the south. A large air-gun source was used, with five ocean-bottom seismometers as receivers. The data were analysed by forward modelling of traveltimes and amplitudes and provided a well-determined seismic velocity structure of the crust along the profile. Within the Nain province, thin postrift sediments are underlain by crust with a P-wave velocity of 6.1 km/s, which increases with depth and reaches 6.6 km/s at about 8 km. Moho is at around 28 km, and there is no evidence for a high-velocity (>7 km/s) lower crust. The P- and S-wave velocity structure is consistent with a gneissic composition for the Archean upper crust, and with granulites becoming gradually more mafic with depth for the intermediate and lower crust. In the Makkovik zone, the sediments are thicker, and a basement layer of P-wave velocity 5.5–5.7 km/s is present, probably due to reworking of the crust and the presence of Early Proterozoic volcanics and metasediments. Upper crustal velocities are lower than in the Nain Province. The crustal thickness, at 23 km, is less, possibly due in part to greater crustal stretching during the Mesozoic rifting of the Labrador Sea. The crustal structure across the Nain–Makkovik boundary is similar to that across the corresponding Archean–Ketilidian boundary off southwest Greenland.

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