Abstract

The Trans-Hudson Orogen (THO) is the world’s largest Paleoproterozoic orogenic belt. Data from three refraction profiles are used to investigate its lithospheric structure in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. R1 crosses the orogen from the Hearne craton on the west to the Superior craton on the east; R2 and R3 are along the orogen. P-wave velocity structural models are generated using a ray-based technique. On line R1, higher crustal velocities in its eastern part coincide with rocks of the Flin Flon – Namew gneiss complex. Depth to Moho is in the 40–45 km range and equates to that from the reflection data, including a small crustal root below the Sask minicontinent. Along lines R2 and R3, depth to Moho varies from about 40 km up to 55 km at the north end of R2 and south end of R3. In general, variations in crustal velocity and depth to Moho do not correlate with the location and extent of geological domains; they appear to reflect the complex deformation and metamorphic history of the crustal rocks. Mantle velocities are high, ∼8.2 km/s. However a limited area shows prominent velocity anisotropy, with values of 8.6 km/s along R2 and R3 and 8.1 km/s along R1. We speculate that the observed anisotropy represents an ∼100-km-wide mantle suture zone resulting from the collision of Archean plates. The suture zone accommodated limited extensional deformation, associated with a counterclockwise rotation of the Superior plate, to generate the anisotropy. In this model, the lithospheric mantle of the THO internal domains and Sask craton are detached.

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