GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 29-2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM


LIU, Lin1, GAO, Stephen S.1, LIU, Kelly H.2, MICKUS, Kevin L.3, SONG, Jianguo4 and YU, Youqiang5, (1)Geology and Geophysics Program, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO 65409, (2)Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering, Missouri University of Science & Technology, 129 McNutt Hall, 1400 North Bishop Avenue, Rolla, MO 65409, (3)Department of Geography, Geology, and Planning, Missouri State University, 901 S. National Avenue, Springfield, MO 65897, (4)Geology and Geophysics Program, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO 65409; School of Geosciences, China University of Petroleum, Qingdao, Qingdao, China, (5)State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, Shanghai, 200092, China,

The Reelfoot Rift located in the Upper Mississippi Embayment (UME) experienced two phases of subsidence commencing in the Late Precambrian and Cretaceous, respectively. To provide new constraints on models proposed for the mechanisms responsible for the subsidence, we computed and stacked P-to-S receiver functions recorded by 49 USArray and other seismic stations located in the UME and the adjacent Ozark Uplift and modeled Bouguer gravity anomaly data. Removal of strong reverberations in the RFs created by the loose sediment layer significantly improved the capability of the RFs to image the Moho and intracrustal interfaces. The resulting thickness, density, and Vp/Vs of the upper and lower crustal layers suggest that the UME is characterized by a mafic and high-density upper crustal layer of ∼30 km thickness, which is underlain by a higher-density lower crustal layer of up to ∼15 km. Those measurements, in the background of previously published geological observations on the subsidence and uplift history of the UME, are in agreement with the model that the Cretaceous subsidence, which was suggested to be preceded by an approximately 2 km uplift, was the consequence of the passage of a previously proposed thermal plume. The thermoelastic effects of the plume would have induced wide-spread intrusion of mafic mantle material into the weak UME crust fractured by Precambrian rifting and increased its density, resulting in renewed subsidence after the thermal source was removed. In contrast, the Ozark Uplift has crustal density, thickness, and Vp∕Vs measurements that are comparable to those observed on cratonic areas, suggesting an overall normal crust without significant modification by the proposed plume, probably owing to the relatively strong and thick lithosphere.
  • GSA_Gao_NMSZ_v1.pptx (4.7 MB)