Seismological Structure of the 1.8Ga Trans-Hudson Orogen of North America and its affinity to present-day Tibet
Abstract:How tectonic processes operated and changed through the Precambrian is debated: what was the nature and scale of orogenic events and were they different on the younger, hotter, more ductile Earth? The geology of northern Hudson Bay records the Paleoproterozoic collision between the Western Churchill and Superior plates: the 1.8Ga Trans-Hudson Orogeny (THO) and is thus an ideal study locale to address this issue. It has been suggested, primarily on the strength of traditional field geology, that the THO was comparable in scale and style to the present-day Himalayan-Karakoram-Tibet Orogen (HKTO). However, understanding of the deep crustal architecture of the THO, and how it compares to the evolving HKTO is presently lacking.
Through joint inversion of teleseismic receiver functions and surface wave data, we obtain new Moho depth estimates and shear velocity models for the crust and upper mantle. Archean crust in the Rae, Hearne and Churchill domains is thin and structurally simple, with a sharp Moho; upper crustal wavespeed variations are readily attributed to post-formation events. However, the Paleoproterozoic Quebec-Baffin segment of the THO has a deeper Moho and more complex crustal structure. Our observations are strikingly similar to recent models, computed using the same methods, of the HKTO lithosphere, where deformation also extends >400km beyond the collision front. On the strength of Moho character, present-day crustal thickness, and metamorphic grade, we thus propose that southern Baffin experienced uplift of a similar magnitude and spatial extent to the Himalayas during the Paleoproterozoic Trans-Hudson Orogeny.