Abstract

Potential-field anomalies within the Lithoprobe SNORCLE (Slave – Northern Cordillera Lithospheric Evolution) transect area provide geometrical constraints for regional crustal and lithospheric structures, as well as for local anomalies when coupled with subsurface geometry visible on nearly 2500 km of deep seismic reflection and refraction profiles. Areal distribution of gravity and magnetic anomalies permit structures to be projected away from seismic cross sections, and forward modelling provides tests of different interpretations of deep (crustal and upper mantle) density structures. In a key result from modelling, a Paleoproterozoic subduction zone beneath the Wopmay orogen probably consists of high-density rocks, such as eclogite, within the upper mantle. This result supports the concept of moderate- to low-angle intra-lithospheric sutures. On an even larger scale, applications of bandpass and directional filters assist in detecting anomalies according to wavelength or azimuthal orientation and thus provide means to track patterns across structural grain. For example, gravity and magnetic trends that are associated with Precambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield can, in some cases, be followed across much of the Cordillera. This result is consistent with North American Precambrian rocks composing much of the crust in the Cordillera and thus that the addition of “new” lithosphere during Mesozoic – early Tertiary accretion has been relatively minor.

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