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New insights into the structure of the Sudbury

Igneous Complex from downhole seismic studies

David Snyder, Gervais Perron, Karen Pflug, and Kevin Stevens
Abstract: New vertical seismic profiles from the northwest margin of the Sudbury impact structure provide details of
structural geometries within the lower impact melt sheet (usually called the Sudbury Igneous Complex) and the sublayer
norite layer. Vertical seismic profile sections and common depth point transformation images display several continuous
reflections that correlate with faults and stratigraphic boundaries logged from drill cores. Of four possible mechanisms
that explain repeated rock units, late-stage flow or normal faulting that occurred within the last layers to cool and crystallize
might best explain the observations, especially the most prominent reflectors observed in the seismic data. These results
reaffirm previously proposed two-stage cooling and deformation models for the impact melt sheet.
Rsum : De nouveaux profils sismiques verticaux de la bordure nord-ouest de la structure dimpact de Sudbury dtaillent
les gomtries structurales dans la couche infrieure de roche fondue par impact (habituellement appele le complexe
ign de Sudbury) et de la couche de norite sous-jacente. Des sections verticales de profils sismiques et des images de
transformation de points profondeur commune montrent plusieurs rflexions continues qui concordent avec des failles
et des limites stratigraphiques tires de carottes de forage. Des quatre mcanismes possibles qui expliqueraient les units
rocheuses rptes, une coule tardive ou des failles normales, qui ont eu lieu dans les derniers tages refroidir et
cristalliser, pourraient le mieux expliquer les observations, surtout les rflecteurs les plus prominents observs dans les
donnes sismiques. Ces rsultats raffirment les modles antrieurement proposs de refroidissement et de dformation
en deux tapes pour la couche de roche fondue par impact.
[Traduit par la Rdaction] Snyder et al. 951
Little observational information is available about the detailed
structures associated with the margin of the excavated material,
the so-called transient cavity, of impact craters 200 km in
diameter or larger. Three craters are presently known, and
deep levels of erosion (Vredefort) or burial (Chicxulub) limit
access to information (Melosh and Ivanov 1999; Grieve and
Therriault 2000). Only the Sudbury impact structure
(Fig. 1a) provides the appropriate exposure level to examine
some features of large impact crater margins in detail. The
Sudbury structure appears unusual because of the relatively
large volume of melt sheet produced by the impact and the
long time it took to cool and crystallize (Naldrett and
Hewins 1984; Ivanov and Deutsch 1999). Recent
high-resolution seismic surveys conducted by the Geological
Survey of Canada Downhole Seismic Imaging (DSI)
Consortium (see the Acknowledgments) within rocks of the
Sudbury Igneous Complex (SIC) have provided new insight
into how the igneous complex deformed as it cooled following
the Sudbury impact 1850 Ma. Here we report new vertical
seismic profiling (VSP) results acquired with receivers located
in relatively deep (18002000 m) exploration drill holes
(Fig. 1b).
After a century of study (Pye et al. 1984) the general
geology of the Sudbury basin is well documented, but
although its origin as an impact structure is now widely
accepted, questions remain about the origin of specific
features of the Sudbury structure (Dressler and Sharpton
1999). The Sudbury structure forms an elongate basin, with
a long axis oriented east-northeastwest-southwest, superposed
on primarily granites and gneisses of the Archean Superior
Province (Dressler et al. 1992; Fig. 1a). The structure is defined
primarily by the SIC, an apparently differentiated sequence
of felsic norite and granophyre. The complex is overlain by
the Whitewater Group, which includes the heterolithic breccias
of the Onaping Formation, interpreted as airfall deposits of
the impact event, and metasedimentary wackes of the
Chelmsford Formation that are thought to be not directly
related to the impact event.
The lowermost unit of the SIC is the sublayer norite.
This gabbro to quartz diorite lies along the contact between
Can. J. Earth Sci. 39: 943951 (2002) DOI: 10.1139/E02-013 2002 NRC Canada
Received 3 July 2001. Accepted 11 March 2002. Published on the NRC Research Press Web site at http://cjes.nrc.ca on
26 June 2002.
Paper handled by Associate Editor F. Cook.
D. Snyder,
G. Perron,
and K. Pflug. Geological Survey of Canada, 615 Booth Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0E9, Canada.
K. Stevens. Falconbridge Exploration, Ltd., P.O. Box 40, Falconbridge, ON P0M 1S0, Canada.
Geological Survey of Canada Contribution 2001066.
Corresponding author (e-mail: dsnyder@nrcan.gc.ca).
Present address: MIRA Geoscience, 310 Victoria Avenue, Westmount, QC H3Z 2M9, Canada.
the SIC and Superior Province footwall rocks, and also forms
several dikes in the footwall. These dikes are known as the
Offset Dikes, and some extend radially tens of kilometres
into the footwall rocks (Fig. 1a). The sublayer and offsets
host many of the nickelcopper ore bodies of the area, but
ore bodies also occur immediately below the sublayer in the
footwall rocks and footwall breccias. Because the sublayer is
the lowest rock layer associated with the impact, it effectively
lines the excavated cavity. Impacts are extremely high
energy events, therefore the sublayer melt would be
expected to have great lateral variation in shape, thickness,
and composition. The footwall breccia units include the dis-
continuous Late Granite Breccia immediately underlying
the sublayer norite and the Sudbury breccia, a pseudotachylite
consisting dominantly of locally derived rock fragments in a
fine-grained, generally dark colored matrix. In the area of
our survey, the footwall consists of granite, felsic gneiss,
mafic gneiss, migmatites, mafic volcanics, gabbro, and
younger Sudbury swarm diabase dykes (Fig. 1a).
A number of important questions about the formation of
the Sudbury structure, and its igneous complex (the SIC) in
particular, remain unresolved (Naldrett 1999). The proportion
of granophyre in the SIC (Fig. 2) is too great to have evolved
by differentiation of a single melt sheet, despite isotopic
evidence that all the material came from crustal rocks of
similar age. The granophyre and felsic norite also display
distinct deformational histories (Cowan et al. 1999) that suggest
either two stages of cooling or the injection of lower crustal
and upper mantle melt after the main impact-related thermal
event. Naldrett (1999) suggests that the sublayer norite consists
primarily of initial melt, but it was enriched by sulfides and
mafic inclusions that originated in the target (footwall) rocks
and that gravitationally settled out of the melt sheet. This
sublayer melt was not greatly involved with convective mixing
within the main body of the SIC; it preserved its distinct
geochemical signature and only intermixed with the felsic
norite melt near their mutual contact. This model of stratified
convection, mixing, and cooling predicts specific types of
structures along this contact and excludes others. Many of
these have scale lengths that are resolvable with the downhole
seismic technique described here.
Downhole seismic data
The downhole seismic data were acquired by the Geological
Survey of Canada DSI Consortium in the autumn of 1998
and 1999 within the Norman West property of Falconbridge,
on the northeast range (North Lobe) of the Sudbury impact
structure (Fig. 1a). In the first year, three-component receivers
at 1001855 and 1001915 m depths in holes N26 and N33,
respectively, recorded energy from five nearby shot points
(called SP1SP5). The resulting 10 overlapping VSPs had a
maximum horizontal sourcereceiver offset of 350 m. In the
second year, again using energy from five shot points (SPN,
SPS, SPE, SPW, and SPC in Fig. 1b), three-component
receivers recorded data at 3501419 and 3501705 m depths
in holes N40 and N43, respectively. These 10 offset VSPs
had maximum offsets from 400 to 2500 m (Fig. 1b). Shot
point SP4 from the first year was reused as shot point SPE in
the second year.
In both years very similar acquisition parameters were
used. The receiver interval was 5 m and the sample rate
recorded on a 24-bit OYO DAS-1 was 0.25 ms. Shot records
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944 C an.J.Earth Sci.Vol.39,2002
Fig. 1. (a) Location map showing the northeast part of the
Sudbury impact structure. The rectangle shows the area of the
downhole seismic survey (Fig. 1b); it lies in an embayment of
the larger structure called the North Lobe by some workers. The
main geological units of interest here are the granophyrenorite
of the Sudbury Igneous Complex (SIC), the sublayer norite layer,
and the wall rocks to the impact (Superior Province granites).
The Onaping and Chelmsford Formations overlie the SIC. P,
Parkin dike. (b) Map view of the Norman West surveys showing
drill holes used for receivers (N40, N43, N33, N26), selected
shot points (SP3, SPW, SPS, SPC, SPN, SPE = SP4), and contours
to the top surface of the sublayer norite (solid lines) and isopach
contours of its thickness (broken lines) as compiled from numerous
drill holes in the area. Also shown is the footprint or surface
projection of the reflection points for VSPCDP transforms for
holeshot combinations N33SP3, N40SPC, and N40SPN; all
assumed a strike of 150 and southwest dip of 30. The sections
related to the first two footprints are shown in Fig. 5; the latter
footprint illustrates an extreme geometry. Grid north and grid
east values are shown at the left and bottom, respectively.
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Snyderetal. 945
Fig. 2. Density, P-wave velocity (Vp), and acoustic impedance with lithology and fracture logs for borehole N33 (Pflug et al. 2000). A
synthetic seismogram generated using these impedance contrasts and a Ricker wavelet centred at 70 Hz is shown at the right; all five
traces are equivalent (t
, t
, and b
locate where the top and bottom of the subnorite layer intersects the borehole; f, fault zone). The
density and acoustic logs were acquired in the same hole used for the downhole seismic receivers. Positive density inflections and negative
P-wave velocity inflections are clearly associated with the sublayer norite layer and its contact with the wall rocks, here mostly Sudbury
and granite breccia or felsic gneiss. The opposite senses of inflection produce a relatively modest change in their product, impedance.
Short wavelength variations remain small throughout the Sudbury Igneous Complex rocks to a depth of 1450 m. This provides nearly
ideal conditions for seismic exploration of the impact contact zone (sublayer norite), as the overlying SIC rocks are very good transmitters
of seismic waves.
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946 C an.J.Earth Sci.Vol.39,2002
were 2.0 s long. An eight-level three-component downhole
tool was used in holes N26, N40, and N43. A four-level tool
was used in hole N33. Three-component seismometers at
individual levels in these Vibrometric XYZ 8/24 and XYZ
4/12 instruments are identical.
The survey design is called a multi-azimuth VSP. Shot
holes are located at varying azimuths and distances (e.g.,
Fig. 1b) to orient each receiver level during post-survey
processing by maximizing direct P-wave energy on the radial
horizontal component. Large horizontal offsets provide more
energy on horizontal components to implement these so-called
rotations, but near offsets typically provide clearer and simpler
record sections.
Shot holes were drilled 35 m into bedrock. Holes were
reused, but filled each time with water to provide better coupling
with the ground. The charge of high-velocity pentholite
dynamite boosters was increased from 90 to 227 g when
receivers reached depths over 1000 m. Shots times and
recorder initiation were synchronized on minute marks using
a set of six blasting boxes, each in turn synchronized to
Global Positioning System (GPS) time every morning and
evening. The clock drift of each box was recorded each
night and removed during processing (Fig. 2). Drifts were
typically 530 ms.
Processing of VSP sections
Vertical seismic profiles do not resemble geological cross
sections, in part because wireline depth is traditionally plotted
across the horizontal axis and traveltime increases down the
vertical axis (Fig. 2). This convention makes prominent, di-
rectly arriving, downgoing seismic waves appear to propagate
from upper left to lower right. Upgoing, reflected waves
appear to propagate from upper right to lower left. To
observe the reflected waves of interest to exploration, the
higher amplitude direct waves must be attenuated or removed.
Table 1 summarizes the processing steps used to produce the
VSP sections used in this study (Figs. 3, 4); a few key steps
will be discussed in more detail here. The processing soft-
ware used is DSIsoft, developed by the DSI Consortium.
First breaks, the onset of direct P waves, should show
smooth trends that increase in time with increasing depth.
Jagged offsets (Fig. 3) result from timing breaks due to drifts
in both the blasting box and trigger pulse timing clocks. Clock
drifts were reconstructed in three steps: (i) drifts measured each
evening were subtracted; (ii) offsets recorded in first breaks
by a surface geophone, when observable above ambient
noise levels, were subtracted; and (iii) static corrections were
applied by hand. The first breaks were also used to rotate the
horizontal components so that H1 points toward the source.
This technique attempts to maximize the energy on H1, but
consistently high noise levels on H2 made this analysis
unreliable on data from N26 and N33, so only the vertical
(Z) component was used in subsequent analysis. Much of
this noise has a limited frequency range and appears as
ringing. Predictive deconvolution helped reduce the amplitude
of this noise. The difference in the VSP sections for N40C,
as illustrated between Figs. 3 and 4, shows the success of the
processing in enhancing reflected (downgoing) seismic energy.
Common depth point (CDP) transforms
Images of the subsurface were created using a
data-mapping procedure called the common depth point
(CDP) transform or stacked VSPCDP display (Hardage 2000,
p. 266). This procedure takes every sample from a
timedepth VSP profile and relocates them in three-dimensional
(3D) space. The end result is a slice through the subsurface
comparable to a normal surface seismic CDP profile. The CDP
transform was applied to the 20 VSPs (four holes, five shots
into each). A CDP line was picked for each profile and 8 m
8 m 8 m bins were used to map the data from spacetime
domain to XYZ domain. The data were then projected onto
the CDP line creating two-dimensional (2D) profiles with
8 m CDP spacing (Fig. 1b). Because of the strike and dip
assumed, the profile sections shown here correctly relocate
those events which dip 2535 towards the southwest (Fig. 5).
1. Geometry Covert SEG2 to DSIsoft format
2. Sort to wireline depth
3. Drift (timing) corrections
4. Monofrequency noise removal by adaptive filter 60, 180, 300, 360, 420, 540, 660, 780 Hz
5. Residual statics
6. Energy balancing Average channel energy
7. Rotation of horizontal components
8. Lowpass filtering Ramp from 400 to 1000 Hz
9. Predictive deconvolution Lag 2.75 ms (Z), 7.50 ms (H); operator length 3 ms; window 02 s (H),
50 to +150 ms relative to first break (Z)
10. Resample to 0.5 ms
11. Energy balancing 00.75 s window
12. Trace editing
13. Removal of downgoing P wave Median velocity filter (13 points)
14. Removal of downgoing S wave Median velocity filter (23 points)
15. Energy balancing 00.60 s window
16. FK filtering of other downgoing energy
17. FK filtering of tube wave energy
18. Bandpass filter 3585 to 225325 Hz
Table 1. Processing parameters.
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Snyderetal. 947
These dips are those expected within the North Lobe for
lithological contacts of the major SIC units (granophyre, felsic
norite, sublayer norite). Shallower dips (e.g., 15) and other
strikes (e.g., 100) were also used for comparisons and studies
of the sensitivity to these parameter choices. The choice of
strike within 45 had little effect on the geometries of
reflections; changes in dip of 10 produced significant
changes in the geometries of reflections and also in the area
imaged. Note that the dips chosen provide an image of the
subsurface as far as 10001200 m away from the boreholes
(Fig. 5).
Rock properties
Seismic surveys can complement surface studies to reveal
important 3D geometries of structures by providing depth
information, if an appropriate velocity and density contrast
exists between important rock units. Well logs and core samples
from within the Sudbury impact provide such information
about rock properties (Fig. 2; White et al. 1994). Previous
studies concluded that both the granophyrenorite transition
and the sublayer norite layer have a sufficiently high and
consistent impedance contrast to be mapped regionally using
seismic reflection methods (White et al. 1994). Those studies
and our new studies both indicate that velocities and densities
vary gradually with depth within the SIC, but variations in
both properties increase in amplitude markedly within the
sublayer norite and at deeper contacts with the footwall rocks
(Fig. 2).
The transition from granophyre to felsic norite within the
SIC has sufficient compositional variations over a short
depth interval to produce a distinct reflection at wavelengths
(100400 m or 1560 Hz) typical of deep surface reflection
profiling (Milkereit et al. 1992; White et al. 1994). This
transition is too gradual to produce reflections at the shorter
wavelengths (20100 m or 60300 Hz) used in our downhole
seismic surveys with explosive seismic sources (see synthetic
seismogram in Fig. 2). Instead, the entire SIC is a relatively
loss free medium to high-frequency seismic waves, as they
are neither strongly scattered nor reflected by this homogeneous
Modeling of the P- and S-wave first breaks observed in
our downhole data showed velocity variations of 58406140 m/s
for the P waves from the 10 VSPs and 34103800 m/s for S
waves. The borehole velocity logs indicate consistently higher
P-wave velocities centred around 6300 m/s within the SIC
Fig. 3. Vertical seismic profile section for unprocessed data from receivers located in bore hole N40 and a source at shot point SPC
(Fig. 1b). P
indicates the prominent direct P-wave arrivals that show a sharp apparent offset at a depth of 1320 m; this is due to
shooting clock drift and occurs where work ended one day and began again the next morning. The direct S waves (S
) show a similar
offset. A chevron pattern is also apparent from seismic phases dipping about 30 on this section; these are tube waves generated within
the bore hole at sharp breaks in the wall rocks, typically where faults intersect the bore hole. The arrow indicates a reflection from a
shallowly dipping planar structure. Plots are variable area, with a gain of 5 and automatic gain control (AGC) using a 200 ms window.
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948 C an.J.Earth Sci.Vol.39,2002
(Fig. 2). Milkereit et al. (2000) also report that a narrow
range of P-wave velocities, 62006400 m/s, generally
characterize the SIC felsic norite throughout the Sudbury
structure. A P-wave velocity of 6300 m/s and an S-wave
velocity of 3600 m/s were adopted for analysis and in
modeling. We note, however, the attenuation and possible
anisotropy suggested by the observed discrepancy between
borehole logs sampled at approximately 10 000 Hz frequencies
and refraction velocities calculated using approximately
100 Hz arrivals.
Although the SIC effectively acts as a clear lens to the
seismic waves, physical property variation with depth near
the sublayer norite is sufficiently sharp to produce observable
reflections in both types of surveys (e.g., Fig. 4). It is generally
assumed that seismic surveys can distinguish vertical variations
in rocks of about one quarter the seismic wavelength. The
downhole data are thus able to resolve rock layers, provided
sufficient impedance contrast exists, if their thicknesses are
525 m. The reflectivity apparent in Fig. 4 indicates that
numerous layers within the sublayer norite and underlying
footwall rocks have these characteristics. The synthetic
seismogram calculated from the density and velocity logs
likewise shows increased reflectivity beneath the sublayer
norite and, to a lesser extent, within this unit (Fig. 2), but no
strong reflection from its top contact. Except near their base,
the overlying SIC rocks show comparatively little reflectivity
or structure. A few notable exceptions are likely faults and
fracture zones.
Fig. 4. Final processed VSP sections for (a) the same shotreceiver
pair as that in Fig. 3 and (b) receivers in hole N33 and a source
at shot pointSP3. The borehole can be imagined to lie along the
first breaks at the top of the section; t
, t
, and b
locate where
the top and bottom of the subnorite layer intersects the borehole
(Fig. 2). In hole N33, a continuous reflection and a strong tube
wave originate at one logged fault zone. Plot parameters as in Fig. 2.
Broken lines labeled P and S show modeled traveltimes for
diffractions scattered from an object 1200 m north of borehole
N40 assuming P- and S-wave velocities, respectively.
Fig. 5. CDP transform images for (a) VSP N40SPC and (b)
VSP N33SP3. See Fig. 1b for section locations. This transform
assumes 30 reflector dips, so only those dips are imaged in
their correct position. Both images assumed a strike of 150, so
both profiles trend N60E. The top (t
, t
) and base (b
, b
) of
the sublayer norite are identified as prominent reflectors in both
images (unit is only 13 m thick in N40), as is the base of a
pocket of Late Granite Breccia (g in Fig. 5b). The main, nearly
flat event in Fig. 5b is a fault imaged for more than 800 m of
offset from a wireline depth in N33 of about 1370 m. Additional
dotted lines mark uninterpreted reflectors within the footwall
rocks and at 1000 m depth.
The homogeneity and smooth velocity gradients within
the granophyre and felsic norite in the upper 1500 m of the
3D rock volume investigated provide ideal conditions for the
propagation of seismic waves with little scattering or attenuation
and little variation in velocity until the sublayer zone is
reached. The synthetic seismogram calculated from the well
logs indicates that the top of the sublayer is not a strong reflector
(Fig. 2), but that numerous horizons within the footwall do
produce reflections.
The processed VSP sections display numerous reflections
dipping down to the left at nearly all wireline depths
(Fig. 4). Only a few of the more continuous reflections that
intersect the borehole will be noted here. In N33, a strong
tube wave was generated at a depth of 1400 m (labeled fault
in Fig. 4b). A continuous and relatively high amplitude
reflection, dipping down to the left (to almost 0.3 s
traveltime) at a slightly steeper angle than neighboring
reflections, also originates at this depth. Nearby, three more
continuous reflections (labeled t
, t
, and b
in Fig. 4b) are
nearly parallel. This band of reflectors intersects the borehole
at depths of 13201650 m. Reflections at greater traveltimes
(>0.45 s at 1400 m depth) with similar dips do not intersect
the bore hole. These may be reflections from surfaces deeper
than the borehole or, as indicated by our forward modeling,
diffractions from scattering objects several hundred metres
distant from the boreholes. Forward modeling also indicates
that some of the later reflections are S-wave equivalents of
earlier P waves. Some traveltimes indicate P to S conversion
occurred near the source, and others indicate conversion at
the reflection point.
The example from hole N40 illustrates many of the same
features. The tube wave, prominent in the unprocessed section
(Fig. 3), was removed to reveal a large number of upgoing
reflections. None of these reflections have high amplitudes
or great continuity, although one (labeled t
in Fig. 4a) can
be traced across most of the section. Again, reflections and
diffractions appear more continuous and prominent at greater
traveltimes, but these features do not intersect the borehole.
Correlations and interpretations
At depths >1500 m, geological structures, rock units, and
sulfide deposits form complex structures at the margin between
the igneous complex and the footwall rocks of the impact
crater. Numerous large breccia blocks, lenses, and thickness
variations in the sublayer norite provide potential point
diffractors and local variability in reflector amplitudes. This
combination of features generates VSP records rich in clear
signals that are useful in exploration only if they can be isolated
for interpretation. Here only the more prominent and laterally
continuous reflectors will be discussed. These include several
main features whose geometries are defined over an area
about 1000 m by 400 m at depths of 10001900 m (Figs. 5, 6).
The prominent reflector associated with tube waves on the
processed shot-gather section for hole N33 (Fig. 4b) transforms
to the shallowly dipping reflector observed in the CDP transform
images (dashed line labeled fault at 1370 m wireline depth
in Fig. 5b). Forward modeling of this same reflector, in
which synthetic traveltime curves are matched to observed
arrivals on the shot gathers, indicated that the planar reflector
dips at 1020 to the west with a strike of 150. A fault zone
was noted in the core log (Fig. 2) where the prominent
reflection was modeled to intersect hole N33 at a depth of
1370 m (950 m elevation). The description from the core
log for the nearby N26 hole over the depth interval
14611468 m indicates a fault zone with strong fabric, intense
quartz and carbonate alteration, and minor gouge. No fault
orientation is indicated.
A second prominent reflector was modeled to strike 150
and dip 2432 to the west. This reflector is associated with
the top of the sublayer norite unit (t
in Figs. 4b, 5) because
of its near correlation with this rock layer in the core logs
(also see contours in Fig. 1b). A general increase in coherent
reflectivity is observed from the depth of this reflector to the
bottom of the section. A nearly parallel reflector (b
Fig. 5) is interpreted as the base of the sublayer, offset by
the fault. The nearby reflectors (t
and b
) are interpreted as
these same top and bottom surfaces of the sublayer, offset by
the fault. A fourth reflector (g in Fig. 5) also approximately
parallels the third one so as to define an irregular layer
interpreted as the Late Granite Breccia. This layer is
somewhat less reflective except for a few brighter spots at its
inflections that may coincide with semi-massive sulfide
accumulations. The low reflectivity of this layer is expected
given its nature as an anatexite unit in which the rock is a
classic breccia that was partly melted and cooled to form
leucocratic crystals, as observed in nearby dikes (Murphy
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Snyderetal. 949
Fig. 6. Summary cartoon section of the interpretation of the
19981999 multi-VSP data; ornamentation as in Fig. 2 and as
labeled. Lithological ties to the recording borehole N33 were
honored, but contacts were projected as much as 1 km from nearby
bore holes and located using primarily the reflectors shown in the
CDP transform image (Fig. 5b). A major fault is nearly horizontal
(10W) and repeats the sublayer norite unit in holes N33 and N26.
Its sense of displacement could be either sinistral or top-side out
of the section shown. Dark bands show the location of sulfide ore
and Wood 2001). Variations within the footwall are attributed
to blocks of felsic gneiss juxtaposed with gabbro or diabase.
Depending on the velocity and density contrasts produced
with the overlying layers, this variation may also contribute
to local bright reflectors or scatterers (Fig. 2).
Significance to impact models
A repeat of the sublayer norite unit was observed in several
holes drilled in this area, including hole N33 (Fig. 6). Two
separate occurrences of sublayer norite in this geological
context have at least four possible explanations: (1) isoclinal
folding of a single layer, (2) two parts of an intrusive body,
(3) normal fault offset, or (4) alongstrike offset of a curved
layer. This repeat of the sublayer norite unit was originally
attributed to a large-scale (>500 m), overturned, isoclinal
fold structure (G. Snyder, personal communication, 1999)
presumably related to flow and intermixing with the SIC
during the crater collapse phase and before it cooled. The repeat
could also represent an apophysis, a dike shooting off the
main sublayer body if the latter was still fluid when the
norite layer had cooled sufficiently to behave plastically
(Naldrett 1999).
The identification of the prominent and extensive reflector
with a fault zone is significant in that it now provides additional
possible explanations for the repeated section if the overlying
rock layer that includes some sublayer moved toward the
south or west. The shallow dip to the southwest that was
modeled for this reflector indicates that the fault has a normal
sense of displacement; it repeats the section because the rock
units locally dip at a steeper angle (30) to the southwest. If
reflectors b and t (Fig. 5) delimit the same rock layer, then
palinspastic restoration of this layer using the CDP transform
section indicates that greater than 400 m of displacement
occurred on this fault.
Both the stratigraphic units and the fault dip toward the
centre of the Sudbury structure. This might suggest that the
fault is somehow related to the crater collapse process, but
this appears unlikely given the brittle nature of the fault zone
and alteration where it was observed in drill core. The fault
is thus probably a later deformation feature. The low-angle
reflector projects to the surface well east of the study area
and the main Sudbury impact structure near where a fault
offsets the Parkin dike (Fig. 1a). The Parkin dike is one of
the large pseudotachylite filled intrusions thought by some
workers to represent late-stage impact deformations (e.g.,
Scott and Spray 2000). The sense of displacement along this
fault is sinistral, but the dip is unknown. Planar faults and
fractures are known in the area, and the Sudbury swarm
diabase dikes (Fig. 1) have roughly this orientation.
The recently recognized two-stage cooling of the SIC presents
another possibility, a hybrid of options 3 and 4 given earlier
in this section. This study area lies just north of the axis of
the North Lobe of the Sudbury structure (Fig. 1). If measured
foliations within the felsic norite layer do represent convective
flow down the margin of the impact structure (Cowan et al.
1999; Naldrett 1999), then gravitationally driven magma flow
was locally south toward the North Lobe axis where it would
turn west. Similarly, brittleplastic deformation driven by
gravitational collapse during late stages of cooling would
also exhibit hanging-wall rocks displaced to the south or
southwest. In this case the relative motion of the hanging
wall observed in the CDP transform section (oriented
N60E) would be out of the section or sinistral (Fig. 6). This
choice of interpretation appears the most consistent with the
observations available, including those from the Parkin dike.
In summary, although synthetic seismograms generated
from well logs do not predict strong reflections from main
stratigraphic contacts of the SIC, processed VSP sections do
show continuous reflections intersecting the boreholes at the
top and base of the sublayer norite unit. VSP methods thus
appear useful in defining mesoscale structure within the
Sudbury impact structure. Tube waves and another continuous
reflection correlate with a fault logged in the borehole; forward
modeling predicts a 15 southwest dip for this fault. Because
the sublayer norite contacts are similarly modeled to dip locally
at 35 to the southwest, this fault will have a normal sense of
offset to repeat units in boreholes. This fault probably represents
very late stage collapse within the impact structure.
The Downhole Seismic Imaging Consortium is funded by
the Geological Survey of Canada, Noranda, Inc., Quantec
Geosciences Ltd., and Falconbridge, Ltd. Key advisors for
this work included D.W. Eaton (University of Western Ontario),
D. Schmitt (University of Alberta), E. Adam (Geological
Survey of Canada), M. Salisbury (Geological Survey of
Canada), and the geologists and staff at the Falconbridge,
Ltd. Sudbury offices. Vibrometrics OY provided important
technical support during acquisition. I. Kay, G. Bellefleur,
and M. Mah processed some of these data.
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