Paleoproterozoic Collisional Structures in the Hudson Bay Lithosphere Constrained by Multi-Observable Probabilistic Inversion
Abstract:The Paleozoic Hudson Bay intracratonic basin conceals a Paleoproterozoic Himalayan-scale continental collision, the Trans-Hudson Orogen (THO), which marks an important milestone in the assembly of the Canadian Shield. The geometry of the THO is complex due to the double-indentor geometry of the collision between the Archean Superior and Western Churchill cratons.
Seismic observations at regional scale show a thick, seismically fast lithospheric keel beneath the entire region; an intriguing feature of recent models is a ‘curtain’ of slightly lower wavespeeds trending NE-SW beneath the Bay, which may represent the remnants of more juvenile material trapped between the two Archean continental cores. The seismic models alone, however, cannot constrain the nature of this anomaly.
We investigate the thermal and compositional structure of the Hudson Bay lithosphere using a multi-observable probabilistic inversion technique. This joint inversion uses Rayleigh wave phase velocity data from teleseismic earthquakes and ambient noise, geoid anomalies, surface elevation and heat flow to construct a pseudo-3D model of the crust and upper mantle. Initially a wide range of possible mantle compositions is permitted, and tests are carried out to ascertain whether the lithosphere is stratified with depth.
Across the entire Hudson Bay region, low temperatures and a high degree of chemical depletion characterise the mantle lithosphere. Temperature anomalies within the lithosphere are modest, as may be expected from a tectonically-stable region. The base of the thermal lithosphere lies at depths of >250 km, reaching to ~300 km depth in the centre of the Bay. Lithospheric stratification, with a more-depleted upper layer, is best able to explain the geophysical data sets and surface observables. Some regions, where intermediate-period phase velocities are high, require stronger mid-lithospheric depletion. In addition, a narrow region of less-depleted material extends NE-SW across the Bay, likely associated with the trace of the THO collision and the entrapment of juvenile material between the highly-depleted Archean cores.