Abstract

New COCORP deep seismic reflection profiles from the Montana plains between the Rocky Mountains and the Williston basin image the crystalline continental basement of the Archean Wyoming cratonic province on a regional scale. The crust is, in general, reflective throughout its entire thickness. West of the Williston basin, the crust-mantle boundary is at the base of the reflective zone and is not marked by the presence of any distinctive reflections. The lowermost crust beneath the Williston basin is, in contrast, characterized by a prominent, laterally extensive zone of relatively high-amplitude reflections. If, as the spatial correlation suggests, the anomalously reflective lower crustal zone is causally related to the subsidence of the basin, then the data place constraints in addition to those of the sedimentary record on physical models for the evolution of the Williston basin.

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