Upper crustal structure of Alabama from regional magnetic and gravity data: Using geology to interpret geophysics, and vice versa

By: , and 



Aeromagnetic and gravity data sets obtained for Alabama (United States) have been digitally merged and filtered to enhance upper-crustal anomalies. Beneath the Appalachian Basin in northwestern Alabama, broad deep-crustal anomalies of the continental interior include the Grenville front and New York–Alabama lineament (dextral fault). Toward the east and south, high-angle discordance between the northeast-trending Appalachians and the east-west–trending wedge of overlapping Mesozoic and Cenozoic Gulf Coastal Plain sediments reveals how bedrock geophysical signatures progressively change with deeper burial. High-frequency magnetic anomalies in the Appalachian deformed domain (ADD) correspond to amphibolites and mylonites outlining terranes, while broader, lower-amplitude domains include Paleozoic intrusive bodies and Grenville basement gneiss. Fundamental ADD structures (e.g., the Alexander City, Towaliga, and Goat Rock–Bartletts Ferry faults) can be traced southward beneath the Gulf Coastal Plain to the suture with Gondwanan crust of the Suwannee terrane. Within the ADD, there is clear magnetic distinction between Laurentian crust and the strongly linear, high-frequency magnetic highs of peri-Gondwanan (Carolina-Uchee) arc terranes. The contact (Central Piedmont suture) corresponds to surface exposures of the Bartletts Ferry fault. ADD magnetic and gravity signatures are truncated by the east-west–trending Altamaha magnetic low associated with the Suwannee suture. Arcuate northeast-trending magnetic linears of the Suwannee terrane reflect internal structure and Mesozoic failed-rift trends. Geophysical data can be used to make inferences on surface and subsurface geology and vice versa, which has applicability anywhere that bedrock is exposed or concealed beneath essentially non-magnetic sedimentary cover.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Upper crustal structure of Alabama from regional magnetic and gravity data: Using geology to interpret geophysics, and vice versa
Series title Geosphere
DOI 10.1130/GES00703.1
Volume 9
Issue 4
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of America
Publisher location Boulder, CO
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description 21 p.
First page 1044
Last page 1064
Country United States
State Alabama
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table