Insights into the tectonics of the Eastern North American Shield at the Macro-scale: A new Absolute P-wave Tomographic Model for North America.


The Grenville orogen is a 1Ga old, 4000km long tectonic collision zone that bounds the North American Shield to the east, often drawing comparisons to the modern-day Himalayas in collisional style and extent. Local studies of the Grenville province are legion, however it remains enigmatic at the macro scale due to its large spatial footprint (from Labrador to Mexico), interaction with Phanerozoic tectonics and present-day sedimentary cover. Recently, the USArray Transportable Array seismic stations have gone someway to addressing this issue but station coverage remains sparse in global absolute wavespeed models in the shield regions further north. However, the newly published method of Boyce et. al., (2017) enables data from regional seismic networks to be incorporated into these global models. Here we use this method to add ~13000 new P-wave arrivals from stations in Canada to the continental portion of the global absolute wavespeed tomographic model of Burdick et. al., (2017). Thus we are able to seismically illuminate, for the first time, mantle seismic structure for the entire footprint of the Grenville Orogen. Recent work suggests that in SE Canada the edge of the Superior craton has undergone post formation modification. Using these images it will be possible to investigate whether craton edge modification is ubiquitous along the entire Grenville front and whether oblique or direct “head-on” shortening was dominant during the collision of Laurentia and Amazonia at ~1Ga. Through further comparison with the GLimER 2D receiver function profiles (Rondenay et. al., 2017), we aim to unify theories from local scale studies for evolution of the eastern portion of stable North America. Furthermore, we will be able to constrain the morphology of the North American keel and assess to what extent this may influence present day asthenospheric flow fields and the resulting implications for modification of the cratonic root.