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Title: Lithospheric deformation in the Canadian Appalachians: evidence from shear wave splitting
Authors: Gilligan, Amy
Bastow, Ian D.
Watson, Emma
Darbyshire, Fiona A.
Levin, Vadim
Menke, William
Lane, Victoria
Hawthorn, David
Boyce, Alistair
Liddell, Mitchell V.
Petrescu, Laura
First Published: 9-Jun-2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP) for The Royal Astronomical Society
Citation: Geophysical Journal International, 2016, 206, 1273–1280
Abstract: Plate-scale deformation is expected to impart seismic anisotropic fabrics on the lithosphere. Determination of the fast shear wave orientation (ϕ) and the delay time between the fast and slow split shear waves (δt) via SKS splitting can help place spatial and temporal constraints on lithospheric deformation. The Canadian Appalachians experienced multiple episodes of deformation during the Phanerozoic: accretionary collisions during the Palaeozoic prior to the collision between Laurentia and Gondwana, and rifting related to the Mesozoic opening of the North Atlantic. However, the extent to which extensional events have overprinted older orogenic trends is uncertain. We address this issue through measurements of seismic anisotropy beneath the Canadian Appalachians, computing shear wave splitting parameters (ϕ, δt) for new and existing seismic stations in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Average δt values of 1.2 s, relatively short length scale (≥100 km) splitting parameter variations, and a lack of correlation with absolute plate motion direction and mantle flow models, demonstrate that fossil lithospheric anisotropic fabrics dominate our results. Most fast directions parallel Appalachian orogenic trends observed at the surface, while δt values point towards coherent deformation of the crust and mantle lithosphere. Mesozoic rifting had minimal impact on our study area, except locally within the Bay of Fundy and in southern Nova Scotia, where fast directions are subparallel to the opening direction of Mesozoic rifting; associated δt values of >1 s require an anisotropic layer that spans both the crust and mantle, meaning the formation of the Bay of Fundy was not merely a thin-skinned tectonic event.
DOI Link: 10.1093/gji/ggw207
ISSN: 0956-540X
eISSN: 1365-246X
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geology

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