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Crustal velocity variations and constraints on material properties in the Charlevoix Seismic Zone, eastern Canada
  • John Onwuemeka,
  • Yajing Liu,
  • Rebecca M. Harrington
John Onwuemeka
McGill University

Corresponding Author:john.onwuemeka@mail.mcgill.ca

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Yajing Liu
McGill University
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Rebecca M. Harrington
Ruhr University Bochum
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Crustal velocity variation within impact-related seismic zones is commonly attributed to mechanisms such as pore pressure changes, dense fracture network, and compositional variation. In this study, we combine seismic tomography, rock physics analysis, and potential field modeling to quantitatively investigate the mechanisms that influence crustal velocity variation in the Charlevoix Seismic Zone (CSZ), a meteorite impact-related seismic zone in eastern Canada. Earthquakes in the CSZ align along two broad NE-SW trending clusters related to reactivated paleo-rift faults. Within the impact structure, the earthquakes are diffusely distributed and lower velocity bodies are ubiquitous which can be attributed to crustal damage from tectonic inheritance exacerbated by the meteorite impact. The Bouguer gravity anomaly decreases southeastward across the St. Lawrence River due to density disparity between rocks in the Grenville Province and the Appalachians. We find a higher velocity body northeast of the impact structure that does not exhibit an observable gravity anomaly, which suggests the presence of a rock (e.g. anorthosite) of comparable density but a higher elastic moduli within another rock (e.g. charnockite). Outside the impact structure, compositional variations control velocity changes, whereas inside the impact structure, velocity variations can be explained by porosity enhancement of up to 10% by low (0.1) aspect ratio cracks. Our results suggest that intense fracturing and compositional alteration, rather than pore pressure, control velocity variations, hence earthquake processes in the CSZ.
Jul 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth volume 126 issue 7. 10.1029/2020JB020918