Orphan Basin, a massive deepwater rifted basin off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, was one of the targets of the 2009 SIGNAL (Seismic Investigations off Greenland, Newfoundland and Labrador) experiment to collect refraction/wide-Angle reflection (RWAR) data from the Bonavista Platform, through the Orphan Basin, to the Orphan Knoll, and beyond into oceanic crust. Both the data from an earlier RWAR acquisition and the new data were jointly analysed in order to improve on the earlier velocity model and extend its coverage landward and seaward. The resulting velocity model is characterized by an 89-km-Thick sedimentary package immediately outboard of the Bonavista Platform, which thins toward the Orphan Knoll and beyond. The shallowest modelled sedimentary layer, interpreted as Paleocene and younger post-rift sediments, does not show significant thickness variations and velocities do not exceed 3.3 kms1. The second modelled sedimentary layer with laterally variable velocities ranging from 2.3 to 5.3 km s1, interpreted as Late Cretaceous post-rift sediments, is thickest over an interpreted failed rift. The deepest modelled sedimentary layer consists of laterally variable velocities that do not exceed 5.9 kms1 and is interpreted as possibly Jurassic to Early Cretaceous syn-rift sediments. The crust beneath the Bonavista Platform is subdivided into an upper (5.45.9 kms1), middle (5.96.4 kms1) and lower crust (6.46.9 kms1). The middle crust is modelled as disappearing beneath the seaward limit of the Bonavista Platform at an interpreted failed rift, only to re-Appear 100 km further seaward beneath the central Orphan Basin and extend to the seaward limit of the Orphan Knoll, beyond which the crust can be modelled by just an upper (5.06.7 kms1) and a lower (6.77.0 kms1) crustal layer. Towards land, for the first 450 km of the model, velocities generally follow the globally averaged velocity trend for rifted continental crust, albeit with slightly elevated velocities suggestive of magmatic contributions. At the failed rift, within the continental domain, hyperextended crust is modelled, overlying a limited zone of serpentinized mantle. Seaward of Orphan Knoll, the interpretation for the velocity structure is less definitive but an 80-km-wide continentocean transition zone consisting of either transitional embryonic oceanic crust or thinned continental crust overlying serpentinized mantle is proposed. Upper mantle velocities as low as 7.7 kms1 are modelled beneath the interpreted failed continental rift as well as beneath the continentocean transition zone, while the rest of the crustal model is underlain by typical mantle velocities of 8 km s1. Analysis of extension and thinning factors based on the velocity model reveal that the failed rift experienced hyperextension and should have achieved full crustal embrittlement, consistent with localized mantle serpentinization.
- Programområde 3: Energiressourcer