REINTERPRETATION OF ADCOH AND COCORP SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA WITH CONSTRAINTS FROM DETAILED FORWARD MODELING OF POTENTIAL FIELD DATA – IMPLICATIONS FOR LAURENTIA-PERI-GONDWANA SUTURE
The Central Piedmont Suture (CPS) is the boundary between the Laurentian Inner Piedmont and the Peri-Gondwanan Carolina Terrane. The new forward model is consistent with previous seismic interpretations of CPS as a low-angle listric thrust fault ramping up from a mid-crustal detachment on the Alleghenian thrust at depths over 12 km. Unlike previous interpretations, the model explains the Appalachian paired gravity anomaly (APGA, the Appalachian low and the East Coast high) without a change in lower crustal density. The APGA is explained by the seismically well-constrained increase in crustal thickness northwest of the CPS and the observed higher densities of the Carolina Terrane relative to the Inner Piedmont and Blue Ridge.
Most surprisingly, the seismically imaged low-density metamorphic rocks in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge allochthon appear to over-thrust high-density footwall duplexes. The gravity anomalies are primarily correlated with the footwall folds and not rift basins in the underlying Grenville basement. The high densities suggest that the folded footwall reflectors may not represent Paleozoic shelf strata as previously interpreted, but may need to be reinterpreted as Grenville basement duplexes. This also implies that the eastern edge of Laurentian margin shelf sediments has been displaced westward beyond the Hayesville Fault. At the same time, the lack of need for a lateral density contrast in the lower crust opens the possibility that Grenville basement may extend as far east as the Coastal Plain.