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Compressional velocities from multichannel refraction arrivals on Georges Bank: northwest Atlantic Ocean

June 1, 1979

Velocities were obtained from unreversed, refracted arrivals on analog records from a 48‐channel, 3.6-km hydrophone cable (3.89 km from the airgun array to the last hydrophone array). Approximately 200 records were analyzed along 1500 km of ship track on Georges Bank, northwest Atlantic Ocean, to obtain regional sediment velocity distribution to a depth of 1.4 km below sea level. This technique provides nearly continuous coverage of refraction velocities and vertical velocity gradients. Because of the length of the hydrophone cable and the vertical velocity gradients, the technique is applicable only to the Continental Shelf and the shallower parts of the Continental Slope in water depths less than 300 m. Sediment diagenesis, the influence of overburden pressure on compaction, lithology, density, and porosity are inferred from these data.

Velocities of the sediment near the water‐sediment interface range from less than 1500 m/sec on the north edge of Georges Bank to 1830 m/sec for glacial deposits in the northcentral part of the bank. Velocity gradients in the upper 400 m range from 1.0km/sec/km(sec−1) on the south edge of the bank to 1.7sec−1 on the north. Minimum gradients of 0.8sec−1 were observed south of Nantucket Island. Velocities and velocity gradients are explained in relation to physical properties of the Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Pleistocene sediments. Isovelocity contours at 100-m/sec intervals are nearly horizontal in the upper 400 m. Isovelocity contours at greater depths show a greater difference from a mean depth because of the greater structural and lithological variation. Bottom densities inferred from the velocities range from 1.7 to 1.9g/cm3 and porosities range from 48 to 62 percent. The most significant factor controlling velocity distribution on Georges Bank is overburden pressure and resulting compaction. From the velocity data we conclude that Georges Bank has been partially overridden by a continental ice sheet.

Publication Year 1979
Title Compressional velocities from multichannel refraction arrivals on Georges Bank: northwest Atlantic Ocean
DOI 10.1190/1.1440992
Authors L. D. McGinnis, R. M. Otis
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysics
Index ID 70129074
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coastal and Marine Geology Program