Crustal structure of the Labrador Sea conjugate margin and implications for the formation of nonvolcanic continental margins
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Wide-angle seismic studies have determined the detailed velocity structure along a 350-km-long profile across the Labrador margin. Combination of this model with a previously published cross section for the southwestern Greenland margin constitutes the first combined conjugate margin study based on seismic velocity structure. The results indicate three distinct zones across the Labrador margin, similar to the structure of the conjugate Greenland margin. Zone 1 represents 27 to 30-km-thick continental crust thinning gradually seaward over similar to 100 km distance. Farther seaward, zone 2 is 70-80 km wide, characterized by a distinct lower crust, 4-5 km thick, in which velocity increases with depth from 6.4 to 7.7 km/s. Interpretation for this lower crustal block favors an origin by serpentinized peridotite rather than by magmatic underplating. Zone 3 represents two-layered, normal oceanic crust. The cross sections from both margins are reconstructed to an early drift stage at Chron 27. This demonstrates that the serpentinites in zone 2 are symmetrically distributed between previous identifications of Chrons 31 and 33 on both margins. Zone 1 shows a marked asymmetry, with a gradual thinning of continental crust off Labrador contrasted with a rapid thinning off Greenland. The abundant serpentinization of upper mantle peridotite in zone 2 and the asymmetric shape of zone 1 are both probably related to a very slow rate of continental rifting which produced little if any melt.
Chian, DP, KE Louden, and I. Reid. 1995. "Crustal structure of the Labrador Sea conjugate margin and implications for the formation of nonvolcanic continental margins." Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth 100(B12): 24239-24253. DOI:10.1029/95JB02162