Experimental seismic surveys of the Trans-Hudson Orogen
Two experimental seismic surveys were collected in the 1991 LITHOPROBE Trans-Hudson Orogen (THO) data acquisition program. The purpose of the coincident dynamite and vibroseis reflection surveys was to compare crustal images obtained using high-fold low-energy and low-fold high-energy sources. On single-fold field records, signal amplitudes from explosive sources are consistently 50 dB higher than on the corresponding vibroseis records. The vibroseis final stack exhibits better defined upper-crustal reflectivity due primarily to the higher fold. However, at lower-crustal and Moho levels, the dynamite data provides images which are equal or superior to those obtained from the vibroseis data. The dynamite source not only allowed deeper signal penetration but also succeeded in mapping of a number of subcrustal reflections not identified in previous vibroseis data. These new seismic images indicate that the crustal root is not simple depression on the upper-mantle as was inferred initially but a broad (3 s) zone of reflectivity that dips west and extends more than 10 km below the younger regional Moho. Moreover, the dynamite data also indicates that diffraction patterns, detected at lower crustal and Moho depths, have large apertures which permitted proper migration of these lower crustal events. Four vibroseis expanding spread profiles (ESP) were also acquired during the data acquisition program to obtain more detailed and accurate velocity structure. These profiles, with a maximum offset of 18 km, were centered on areas where prominent crustal reflectivity was detected by the regional vibroseis survey. The small source stepout distance (100 m) generated high-fold ($>$30) data. Extensive modeling was carried out to estimate the offset range within which each traveltime approximation and velocity analysis technique may be implemented. The results reveal that velocity estimation becomes more robust and accurate when crustal seismic surveys utilize longer offsets than commonly used. These larger source-receiver separations, however, must be generally limited to offset/depth ratios not exceeding 1.5 when conventional velocity analysis techniques, based on the hyperbolic moveout assumptions, are implemented. Besides the semblance method two velocity estimators adapted to crustal studies, namely the covariance and the $\tau$ - p techniques, were tried. The former yielded the highest resolution followed by the semblance and the $\tau$ - p methods. Resolution of the semblance estimator for a maximum offset of 36 km is equal to that of the covariance method with a corresponding offset of 18 km for mid-crustal reflectors. The advantages provided by the long-offset data acquisition include increased S/N ratio and a greater number of traces with sufficiently large moveouts whichimproved velocity resolution, especially below mid-crustal depths. To achieve similar advantages in a regional crustal reflection survey would require the adoption of longer spread lengths than those presently implemented in standard data acquisition procedures.
Paleoproterozoic Trans-Hudson Orogen, vibroseis, seismology, geology - Saskatchewan, expanding spread profiles
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)