Continental deformation and the mid-lithospheric discontinuity along the Grenville Front
Abstract:The existence of a mid-lithospheric discontinuity (MLD) within the stable continental mantle lithosphere of North America has been well established, but its interpretation remains difficult. Recent work with Ps receiver functions has found evidence for anisotropic structure at MLD depths within the western portion of the Granite-Rhyolite Province, suggesting that the MLD is the result of deformation associated with the formation of the continent. The last significant deformation to occur within the province was approximately 1.3-0.9 Ga and impacted the lithosphere east of the Grenville Front. In this study we analyzed six stations east of the front using Ps receiver functions in order to characterize anisotropy associated with the MLD in the region.
Transverse and radial component Ps receiver functions were calculated for six stations (ACSO, BINY, ERPA, MCWV, SSPA, TZTN) using a multi-taper correlation technique and binned as a function of back azimuth and of epicentral distance. All six stations analyzed displayed significant positive phase energy on the radial component at ~6 seconds, which was interpreted as the Moho. At four of the six stations (ACSO, MCWV, SSPA, TZTN) the Moho showed moderate to significant complexity. At stations MCWV, SSPA, TZTN, all located along the Appalachian margin, there was significant transverse component energy at crustal depths with both two- and four-lobed anisotropy patterns observed. While ACSO, BINY, and ERPA displayed evidence of isotropic and/ or anisotropic crustal structure, a coherent pattern in back azimuth could not be established.
The radial component receiver functions also exhibited negative phase energy, interpreted as the MLD, between 7.5 and 12.5 seconds (or ~80 to 120 km), at five of the six stations, with the exception of BINY, where no negative phase was observed. The transverse component receiver functions at stations ACSO, ERPA, SSPA and TZTN, also displayed a two-lobed pattern in back azimuth at MLD depths, as did BINY, despite the dearth of negative phase energy on the radial component. In general, the transverse component results are considerably different from the earlier work done west of the Grenville Front, suggesting that anisotropic structure varies laterally within the mantle lithosphere and may have been modified by the Grenville deformation event.