Abstract

Grenville foreland thrust structures are observed beneath the eastern U.S. midcontinent on COCORP (Consortium for Continental Reflection Profiling) line OH-1 and a short seismic line in southwest Ohio. These structures represent the first evidence for a significant Grenville foreland thrust belt preserved in eastern North America. On the COCORP lines, the structures include a thrust ramp that truncates layered rocks of the footwall as well as a complex hanging-wall ramp anticline and an associated asymmetric syncline. The Grenville front tectonic zone appears to truncate these foreland structures, indicating a later, second phase, expressed as a deeply penetrating, out-of-sequence thrust zone associated with the main uplift of the Grenville province on the east. A short, shallow seismic line in southwestern Ohio reveals an east-dipping sequence of prominently layered rocks that may lie above a footwall ramp to a deeper Grenville thrust fault. A drill hole into the less reflective top of this dipping sequence encountered unmetamorphosed sedimentary rocks like those increasingly reported from other drill holes in southwestern Ohio and adjacent states. Although possibly part of a late Precambrian (Keweenawan?) rift, these clastic sedimentary rocks may instead preserve evidence of a heretofore unrecognized Grenville foreland basin in eastern North America. Alternatively, these Precambrian sedimentary rocks together with an underlying, but yet undrilled, strongly layered sequence may correlate with similarly layered rocks observed on COCORP and industrial seismic lines within the Middle Proterozoic granite-rhyolite province to the west in Indiana and Illinois and indicate that unmetamorphosed sedimentary material is an important constituent of the granite-rhyolite province. The presence of a Grenville foreland thrust belt beneath the eastern U.S. midcontinent, in contrast with its absence in Canada, may suggest a deeper level of erosion of the Grenville province and its foreland in Canada or reflect important lateral differences in the geology of the foreland.

You do not currently have access to this article.