Extension and magmatism across the Suwanee Suture and South Georgia Basin from the SUGAR seismic refraction experiment
Abstract:The South Georgia Basin was at the center of the most recent sequence of continental collision and rifting events to shape eastern North America. It is the largest of the failed Mesozoic rift basins that formed during the breakup of Pangea, and it straddles the Suwannee Suture, the only well-defined remnant of the Alleghenian suture that joined North America and Gondwana. The South Georgia Basin also lies at the center of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP). It is thus an excellent location to examine the importance of magmatism and pre-existing structures on continental extension.
Here we present preliminary results from the SUwanee Suture and GA Rift basin (SUGAR) project, an active-source seismic refraction project to image the crustal structure across these features. In March 2014, we acquired data along SUGAR Line 1, a ~325-km-long, NW-SE oriented profile that crossed the Suwanee Suture and western part of South Georgia Basin. The profile was densely instrumented with 1193 single-channel RekTek 125A seismographs (“Texans”) spaced at ~250 m. The sources were 100 to 1800 lb shots spaced at ~20-50 km. In August 2015, we will acquire data along SUGAR Lines 2 and 3. SUGAR Line 2 is a ~450-km-long profile spanning the eastern part of the South Georgia Basin and two possible locations for the Suwanee Suture. We will deploy 1983 “Texans” spaced at 250 m and detonate seventeen 400 to 1600 lb shots spaced at ~16-50 km. SUGAR Line 3 targets the Brunswick magnetic anomaly; we plan to instrument a 100-km-long profile with 700 Texans spaced at 150 m and eleven 200 lb shots spaced at ~10 km. Over 68 students participated in field work for SUGAR.
Preliminary models of SUGAR Line 1 indicate that the crust thins to ~33 km beneath the South Georgia Basin. Anomalously high lower crustal velocities occur beneath the basin in the area of the greatest crustal thinning and may represent mafic intrusions from CAMP/synrift magmatism. We will present initial velocity models of Lines 1 and 2 and discuss their implications for along-strike variations in the style of rifting, the volume and distribution of magmatism, and the location of the suture and its control on later tectonic and magmatic events.