Seismic images of the Brooks Range fold and thrust belt, Arctic Alaska, from an integrated seismic reflection/refraction experiment


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We describe results of an integrated seismic reflection/refraction experiment across the Brooks Range and flanking geologic provinces in Arctic Alaska. The seismic acquisition was unusual in that reflection and refraction data were collected simultaneously with a 700 channel seismograph system deployed numerous times along a 315 km profile. Shot records show continuous Moho reflections from 0-180 km offset, as well as numerous upper- and mid-crustal wide-angle events. Single and low-fold near-vertical incidence common midpoint (CMP) reflection images show complex upper- and middle-crustal structure across the range from the unmetamorphosed Endicott Mountains allochthon (EMA) in the north, to the metamorphic belts in the south. Lower-crustal and Moho reflections are visible across the entire reflection profile. Travel-time inversion of PmP arrivals shows that the Moho, at 33 km depth beneath the North Slope foothills, deepens abruptly beneath the EMA to a maximum of 46 km, and then shallows southward to 35 km at the southern edge of the range. Two zones of upper- and middle-crustal reflections underlie the northern Brooks Range above ~ 12-15 km depth. The upper zone, interpreted as the base of the EMA, lies at a maximum depth of 6 km and extends over 50 km from the range front to the north central Brooks Range where the base of the EMA outcrops above the metasedimentary rocks exposed in the Doonerak window. We interpret the base of the lower zone, at ~ 12 km depth, to be from carbonate rocks above the master detachment upon which the Brooks Range formed. The seismic data suggest that the master detachment is connected to the faults in the EMA by several ramps. In the highly metamorphosed terranes south of the Doonerak window, the CMP section shows numerous south-dipping events which we interpret as a crustal scale duplex involving the Doonerak window rocks. The basal detachment reflections can be traced approximately 100 km, and dip southward from about 10-12 km near the range front, to 14-18 km beneath the Doonerak window, to 26-28 km beneath the metamorphic belts in the central Brooks Range. The section documents middle- and lower-crustal involvement in the formation of the Brooks Range. ?? 1994.

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Seismic images of the Brooks Range fold and thrust belt, Arctic Alaska, from an integrated seismic reflection/refraction experiment
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