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Structure of the lower crust beneath the Carolina Trough, U.S. Atlantic continental margin

December 31, 1989

Data from three large-offset seismic profiles provide information on the crustal structure beneath the Carolina trough. The profiles, obtained by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Naval Oceanographic Research Development Agency, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1985, were oriented parallel to the trough and were located (1) seaward of the East Coast Magnetic Anomaly (ECMA), which is generally thought to represent the boundary between oceanic and continental crust; (2) along the axis of the trough between the ECMA and the hinge zone, which is thought to reflect the landward limit of highly stretched and altered transitional crust; and (3) along the Carolina platform landward of the basement hinge zone on crust thought to have been thinned only slightly during rifting. These data constrain the velocity structure of the lower crust and provide evidence for a thick lens of high-velocity (>7.1 km/s) lower crustal material that extends beneath the Carolina trough and the adjacent ocean basin. This lens reaches a maximum thickness of about 13 km beneath the deepest part of the trough, thins to about 5 km seaward of the ECMA, and is either very thin or absent landward of the hinge zone. It is interpreted to represent material that was underplated beneath and/or intruded into the crust during the late stage of continental rifting and that led to an anomalously thick plutonic layer during the early seafloor spreading phase. These data thus support the recent conclusions of White et al. (1987b) and Mutter et al. (1988) that the initiation of seafloor spreading is attended in many, if not most, cases by the generation of an anomalously large volume of melt.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1989
Title Structure of the lower crust beneath the Carolina Trough, U.S. Atlantic continental margin
DOI 10.1029/JB094iB08p10585
Authors Anne M. Tréhu, A. Ballard, L.M. Dorman, J.F. Gettrust, Kim D. Klitgord, A. Schreiner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
Series Number
Index ID 70194889
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center