Abstract

An 82.8 km segment of a northwest-southeast trending seismic-reflection profile across the northernmost part of the Reelfoot rift shows that the Cambrian rift geometry there is quite distinct from that of the main part of Reelfoot rift to the south, and that of the Rough Creek graben to the east. The profile is within the area of intersection of the Reelfoot rift and Rough Creek graben and shows a systematic southeastward thickening of the Cambrian synrift clastic sequence with as much as 1940 meters of section present against the Pennyrile fault system as compared to 970 meters near the Lusk Creek and Shawneetown fault systems, towards the northwestern margin of the rift. This contrasts with the more symmetric rift pattern in the seismically active zone to the south, where the maximum thickness of synrift sediments is along the rift axis, and with an opposite sense of rift asymmetry in the Rough Creek graben, where the synrift sequence thickens to the north against the Rough Creek - Shawneetown fault. Reflection patterns in the vicinity of Hicks dome, a “cryptovolcano”, are consistent with the hypothesis that the dome originated by explosive release of mantle-derived gases associated with alkali volcanism. The seismic data also reveal that the fluorine mineralization in the area is associated with faults that offset basement; this is further evidence that deeply-derived fluids are significant in the geologic evolution of the area.

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